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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/28/04 in all areas

  1. 7 points
  2. 6 points
    This is the rhetoric pushed by billionaires who don't need the government the way most of us do. Isn't it pretty obvious that the billionaires in politics today are only interested in removing restrictions on themselves, and limiting the money spent on the rest of us? These folks have been hammering this message of "bad government" and "sleazy politicians" for decades, while actively being the representatives with the sleaziest behavior, doing everything they can to make the government bad. They don't care if you have access to libraries, museums, parks, swimming pools, or healthcare. They have all those things taken care of due to their massive wealth, and object to taxes that make these things available to the rest of us. They've chosen to ignore our efforts that brought them great wealth, and instead spend money convincing folks that government needs to be dismantled for OUR good. And now they have this blatant racist sexual assaulter-in-chief who is morally and economically corrupt, and happens to have a deluded following all chanting about bringing down the Fed. Working class folks who think this billionaire has their backs while he whittles away at the very thing that has the best chance of making all their lives a lot better. The wolves have tricked the sheep into removing restrictive fences, and the sheep are all praising the freedom.
  3. 6 points
    Puerto Rico agrees. Black athletes agree. The anti-fascist movement agrees.
  4. 6 points
    Why do you limit your options to 'god did it' or 'everything popped out of nothing'? What about it didn't start, i.e. it's always existed? What about 'we don't know'? Also, as i understand it physicists have found that things do simply pop into existence. And yes, i'm frequently astonished by existence. Why does that imply god? I like this question. Many people seem to question that the universe could either just pop into existence or that it has always existed - but are happy to ascribe these exact same properties to something they call 'god'. Either way something has this property - why not discard the middleman and simply ascribe it to the universe. Depends how god is defined. A god that set up the conditions for the big bang but does not intervene at all thereafter would be impossible to detect, at least with our current capabilities. A personal god that answers prayers and parts seas has been pretty well debunked. Such a god would be easy to detect - we would just look for instances where the laws of physics contradict themselves (i.e. the rules change) - seas start to part, lakes turn into wine, whatever other crazy stuff you think a god might do. There is no sign of such a god.
  5. 5 points
    Because I am a philosopher, not a scientist, and this is a science forum, I did not feel any obligation to vote on the issue. Most people, who have read my posts already know my view on the "click-it squad". I would also like to say that I do not see much value in the vote, as the people who are in the forum are reasonably happy with the way the system works, and the people who are not happy with the system have mostly left. So I predict that the vote will be self-confirming and retain the system. The one point that was brought up in this thread, about people arguing with accepted Science, makes sense to me. I can see that it would be frustrating to have to repeat over and over something that has been well established in Science. In my recent thread, Consciousness and Evolution, I worked through seven pages, seven full pages, before I could get the other members to understand that all life is conscious. There are different levels of consciousness, sentience, awareness, sensing, perceiving, whatever, but it is all consciousness. Even after repeatedly telling them that Science confirms this, and explaining that a biologist, a micro-biologist, and a neurologist all confirmed this, there were still arguments. One might wonder why I bothered to work so hard on this. It's simple -- I can not demonstrate the possible connection between consciousness and evolution if the other members do not know WTF consciousness actually is, as they tend to confuse it with the rational aspect of mind. The new ideas don't start until page eight and go through to page ten. A ten page thread that, at most, has only three pages of worth. So I do sympathize with the arguing problem. On the other hand, in Philosophy, it is necessary to know how to make an argument. Telling a philosopher that they must work Philosophy without making an argument is like telling a scientist that they must work Science without using experiments. Absurd. A lot of people in this forum know how to argue, but few know how to make an argument -- with the exception of mathematical arguments. Would it help to post some instructions on how to make a philosophical argument? You did ask for opinions, and philosophers always have lots of opinions, so please consider. There are a lot of posts about new members having problems in the forum. The perception seems to be that new members do not know enough about Science, so they make mistakes until they learn, then their problems with down votes cease. Nonsense. This thinking assumes that new members are uneducated, that they are not professors, scientists, teachers, philosophers, or other educated people. It assumes that new members have nothing to contribute. It also assumes that the old members know more than the new members. I am pretty certain that I know more about consciousness than most members and did when I joined. There may be a few members, who know as much as I do, but I have seen no one who knows more. Of course, you could say that consciousness is not studied in Science as that topic is covered by Philosophy, but there are a surprising number of titles in the Science section with the word "consciousness" in them. It hasn't been that long since I was a new member, so I will tell you what I remember. Notes To Gee: 1. It is OK to insult Religion, Philosophy is just fluff, but do not say anything against Science or you get a down vote. 2. It is always important to be respectful, well mannered and proof your work, but in this forum be very careful how you word things because if it is possible to twist your meaning, someone will and you get a down vote. 3. Tell everyone that you are a scientist, not a philosopher, and deny any belief in "God". (I couldn't do this and got a lot of flack for being a philosopher.) 4. Never complain to a Moderator about a member who has a high rep -- no matter how they are acting. It will backfire. 5. Always agree with the popular opinion -- or DON'T POST. Posting opinions that are unpopular will earn you a down vote. 6. If you ever get three down votes on a post -- GET OUT OF THE THREAD. Tar never learned this one, got about 40 down votes in one thread and left the forum. I will miss him. 7. Avoid the Religion forum as they are all fanatics. Some hate religion, some love religion -- but they are all fanatical about it. 8. Avoid Ethics as that forum can be summed up as "If you would just think like me, act like me, or be like me, you would be ethical." (chuckle) I don't know what maggot in my brain caused me to recently write a thread there, but it didn't work out. I wrote a thread about power and entitled it Powerful Men, Beautiful Women, and Sex. Apparently I did not know that the Powerful Men were being mean to the Beautiful Women Sexually, so it was a thread about sexual harassment. By the bottom of the second page, I apparently was the cause of this harassment. Who knew? 9. Stay away from Politics unless you can think of it as a newspaper and not post. 10. If you ever need a few up votes, go to the Science section, look around for something that interests you, and then profusely thank whoever answered your questions. Sucking up in Science is always good for an up vote. 11. If you found Swansont in a thread in Philosophy, you could often be more open and honest in that thread because people tended to behave when he was around. In this thread, I learned why they behaved. (chuckle) One thing I will say is that Swansont apparently had a lot of power, but I never saw him abuse it and believe he possesses integrity. He is not the only one, and I don't mean to single him out as I see integrity in many members. I just noted early on that people behaved themselves around him. 12. Do not start your own thread. It is suicidal. It is OK to question, but if you start a thread with an idea in mind, you are going to be attacked. For some reason, members in this forum take an original idea as an assault on their authority, so they attack. If I followed these rules, my rep points went up. It did not have a damned thing to do with learning Science. Gee
  6. 5 points
    I'm told that when naked mole rats sit around shooting the breeze, they discuss how they are a clear aberration. Apparently domestic cats hold much the same viewpoint. Not to mention African Greys. It seems its a tendency of any reflective species to view itself as unique and special. You can probably eliminate any single species from the planet and the biosphere will continue pretty much as it was apart from some small, local readjustments. So you can replace the word "humans" in your statement with the name of any species . If you don't feel a Great White is not a super-fish would you like to take one on in unarmed combat. I suggest it won't be long before you are truly unarmed. Moontanman has mentioned examples of intelligence and tool use, etc. There are plenty of examples of animals that are faster than us, or anything else,have better vision than us, or anything else, can endure lower temperatures than us, or anything else. And so on. If we insist on comparisons that focus on our strengths and ignore our weaknesses it is difficult to not to consider us super, but that seems a biased approach. Overgrazing is common. Predators sometimes kill too many of their prey. The Great Barrier Reef is being destroyed by one of its inhabitants. There are, I think, numerous examples of this. We are better at it than most, but I don't think most of us want to boast about that.
  7. 5 points
    Grabbed this from a FB friend. Seems like a good clarification, but is probably too long to read for those who need to read it most. Enjoy. //“I would like all of my right wing, conservative friends and family members to read the following. It explains my beliefs in a nutshell. I borrowed this from my buddy, who borrowed this from another friend.This explains my views in an even tempered, logical way. Let's break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every Liberal is the same, though the majority of Liberals I know think along roughly these same lines: “1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period. 2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that's interpreted as "I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all." This is not the case. I'm fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it's impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes "let people die because they can't afford healthcare" a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I'm not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. 3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn't necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I'm mystified as to why it can't work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt. 4. I don't believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don't want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can't afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist. 5. I don't throw around "I'm willing to pay higher taxes" lightly. I'm retired and on a fixed income, but I still pay taxes. If I'm suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it's because I'm fine with paying my share as long as it's actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare. 6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn't have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live. 7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is - and should be - illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I'm not "offended by Christianity" -- I'm offended that you're trying to force me to live by your religion's rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That's how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don't force it on me or mine. 8. I don't believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you. 9. I don't believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN'T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they're supposed to be abusing, and if they're "stealing" your job it's because your employer is hiring illegally). I'm not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc). 10. I don't believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It's not that I want the government's hands in everything -- I just don't trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they're harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation. 11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I've spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past. 12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege -- white, straight, male, economic, etc. -- need to start listening, even if you don't like what you're hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that's causing people to be marginalized. 13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine). 14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you're using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? 15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else. 16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be? I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I'm a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn't mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don't believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.”
  8. 5 points
    Others have already more than adequately addressed this, and I acknowledge you've mentioned it may have been a poor analogy, but just to close the loop... I said the job of POTUS was different from brain surgery and the precise skills that requires, not that it was simple. That's what happens when the US electorate votes in a man that is obviously unfit and unqualified and who received most of his votes by engaging in grievance politics... scapegoating mexicans, whipping up religious resentment for muslims, implicitly supporting klan members, stoking economic resentments, saying the previous president wasn't a US citizen, etc. ad infinitum... Also... we should be clear: The "office" of the president is not a joke, even though the person currently sitting in that seat very clearly is. Resentment politics. Ceaseless propaganda and misinformation from Fox and Hannity and Breitbart and RN, etc. Failure to properly fund US education. Allowing all opinions to be treated equally even when some are clearly wrong (see also: climate change denial). These all lead to horrible outcomes. The only reason the idea of Oprah and the Rock running for president isn't immediately laughed at and rejected... the only reason we're even talking about this with any sense of seriousness... is because we've just seen someone as ridiculous as Trump win the seat (even though he lost the popular vote by about 3 million votes). "Without an educated populace, democracy cannot sustain itself."
  9. 5 points
    It is difficult to explain why you are wrong because you don't understand the subject and so you just reject the explanations (this has been true in all of your threads). And yet you are the one who constantly quotes the words of others but ignores the science. For example: Dalo: I don't believe X Others: Here is a simple explanation why you are wrong ... D: That's a bit vague, can you be more specific? O: <detailed explanation with evidence and a mathematical analysis> D: I don't need all that maths and what about [irrelevant sidetrack] O: What exactly are you asking? D: How dare you! O: I'm just trying to clarify D: I don't believe Y, as I have been saying all along O: So you have changed the subject D: No, you keep introducing P and Q, but I want to talk about Z O: OK. Do you understand <basic schoolboy physics>? D: Why should I have to? If you can't prove me wrong ... O: <collective sigh>
  10. 5 points
    Ironically, under the title “time does not exist” it says “posted three hours ago”.
  11. 5 points
    I use to post on this forum under the forum handle In My Memory between 2005 and 2007. I know it's a long time ago and few people either know or care who I was, but I want to apologize for my behavior back then. In short, I was a compulsive liar and a relentless narcissist. Let me unpack this in detail: Any single statement I made regarding my education, occupation, life, family, hobbies, or experiences was false. At the time when I posted on this forum, I was not capable of telling truths whether big or small. I was fully and completely aware that I was a compulsive liar in the clinical sense of the term. The compulsive lying started when I was very young. Without going into details, I grew up in a household where my parents hit and screamed as a first resort at the smallest, slightest annoyance. I spent my entire childhood tiptoeing around my parents' razor thin patience and angry outbursts. When they raised their voice at me, I lied as a defense mechanism to escape punishment. In time, the lying became so habitual that I couldn't talk to them without falsifying some fact or detail, no matter how small. If they asked me if I ate cereal for breakfast, I would say I had a bagel. If they asked me why I seemed tired, I would say I wasn't. If they asked me what I did at school, I'd tell a story about having lunch and a nice conversation with friends; when in actuality, I didn't talk to anyone because I had no friends. And so on in that fashion ad infinitum. This carried on into adulthood: anyone who engaged me would get an earful of embellishments and false memories. I occasionally lied for sport, saying outlandishly false things just to amuse myself. Predictably, I did screw up and lost friends, trust, and credibility along the way. I burned a lot of bridges. It took me a long time to realize why I did this, but the short version was that I was deeply sad and crushed by inferiority. I did not handle these feelings in a healthy way: I lied constantly to bolster my own ego and feel important for a change. I found it incredibly, stupidly easy to slip into the compulsive lying habit behind the anonymity of the internet. For years, I role-played personas on various internet forums. I weaved long, detailed back stories into my characters. All of my characters were idealized, implausibly talented, wishful versions of myself. The persona on this forum was a financial analyst struggling to hold her marriage together. Despite being an "idealized" version of myself, I was positively venomous at times. I deliberately tried to get under people's skin, broke people down to build up my ego, used narcissism as a weapon. I do not want to deflect responsibility for my behavior by psychoanalyzing it away. I was aware of what I was doing and in control of my actions the entire time. I take full ownership of everything I've done and said. I cannot express how deeply, irrevocably ashamed I am for my past behavior. I sincerely, earnestly express my regret and apologies. -- With that in mind, I also want to emphasize that I have mellowed out considerably in the past decade. I am self-aware and deeply introspective regarding my own behavior and the direction which my life unfolds. Consequently, I took deliberate steps to become a better person and manifest my idealized self; I decided that compulsive lying was incompatible with the person I wanted to be. I never sought the help of a counselor (I don't think I could have engaged one honestly even if I wanted to), but I was strongly self-motivated to police the things I say to people. I slipped up frequently at first, but I found that the less I lied, the less I needed to do so, and eventually I was able to talk to people in a completely transparent, truthful manner. I've also put a lid on my narcissistic streak and no longer swing my ego around like a wrecking ball. I've wanted to get this off my chest for years. Best wishes, IMM
  12. 5 points
    First off, dark matter and dark energy are two different things and the reasons for expecting their existence are completely unrelated. The only thing they have in common is that they have "dark" in their names. The initial evidence for dark matter came from observations of how stars move in galaxies. Galaxies are formed from stars that are mutually orbiting each other. If we look at a galaxy, and estimate its mass by the matter we can see, we find that there does not appear to be enough to hold the galaxy together. At the speed the stars are orbiting, they should fly apart. We also know how these stars should orbit if the mass is contained to the shape we see it as having. Not only does the galaxy have more mass than that we can see, but the unseen mass must be distributed a lot differently than the part we do not see. For example, in a typical spiral galaxy, a good deal of the mass must be located above and below the disk-like shape we see. If it was made of normal matter, we should see it, if not in the visible spectrum, it should be visible at some other spectrum. This leads us to believe that whatever is causing that extra mass is not made of normal matter, but a type of matter that does not emit or interact with light or any part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thus the term "dark matter. There have been attempts to explain the discrepancy through developing different models for how gravity behaves, but to date, none have been consistent with all the observations we have made. Dark energy concerns itself with the expansion of the universe. We have known for a long time that the universe is expanding and that distant galaxies are moving away from us. But until couple of decades ago, we assumed that the mutual gravity between the different parts of the universe was slowing this expansion down over time. What we did not know was whether this was enough to eventual stop the expansion all together. In the 1990's a study was made to try to determine if this was the case or not. Basically it worked because as we look at distant galaxies, we are seeing them as they were when the light left them. Thus as we look further away we are looking further into the past. Thus, to explain it simply, by comparing various galaxies' distances to how fast they appear to be receding from us, you can work out how the expansion of the universe has change over time. The surprise came when it was discovered that the universe's expansion was not slowing down, but was speeding up. Not only was it mutual gravity not enough to stop its expansion, but something was overcoming the gravity and pushing the universe apart. They decided to call this unknown influence "dark energy" (mainly because they had already coined the term "dark matter") . We really know very little about dark energy, and the term really just is a place holder for whatever it turns out to be. (Much in the way the terms "X-rays" was coined before we learned that they were just a certain part of the electromagnetic spectrum.)
  13. 5 points
    scherado has been banned for multiple instances of rule-breaking in his quest to become the Troll King. We apologize that his interruption in the normal rational discourse was all noise and no signal whatsoever. Roger Dynamic Motion has been banned, NOT for incessant hijacking and almost daily irrationality, but for failing to respond to requests for clarity, EVER. Discussion requires that we express our ideas so others can understand. We wish him good luck with his ideas, whatever they were supposed to be.
  14. 5 points
    This would be very cool. Unfortunately, here in the USA, I don't see that happening any decade soon since there would be parental concern about the radioactivity as well as (unreasonable) religious concerns. * The discussion reminds me of a point I read once that if Darwin had been wrong, the discovery of DNA and how it works would have destroyed his theory and we would have been seeking an alternate mechanism. Instead the discovery of DNA lead to a refinement of Darwin's theory into the even more robust Evolutionary Theory. It is humbling to think of how Darwin, through observation and deduction, derived the process of natural selection and developed his theory and that we have only needed to refine it a bit in spite of more than a century of amazing discoveries. I used to believe in evolution but I no longer do after studying it – now I understand and accept it. I also now see three groups: those who believe in evolution, those who don't believe in evolution – but neither of those groups understand it – and those who understand and accept evolution. I have never met someone who understands evolution but doesn't accept it – all who claim to be such people show that they don't actually understand evolution and really they just don't believe in evolution.