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Everything posted by bombus

  1. bombus

    The Fair Tax

    I do hope you are joking! That depends! A Poll Tax would be simplest, but it woudn't be fair! A tax on goods burdens the poorest. A simple progressive income tax with no loopholes for clever accountants to exploit is the fairest!
  2. The Zionist Jews are to blame. Palestine belonged to the Palestinians (many of whom had descended from the original Jews anyway having converted to Islam many centuries ago). They have had their country stolen from them. There will be no peace until: 1. All the Palestinians are dead 2. All the Zionist Jews are dead (which means everybody dies due to the Samson Option) 3. The current state of Israel is dismantled and reborn as a single country including the Palestinian lands so Jews and Palestinians can live in peace in a secular state where everyone has equal rights. Unfortunately, I think the first two are the most likely. Ho hum... Oh yeah? Well who was there before the Jews? By that reckoning the Brits should still rule the USA! In fact the North American Indians should rule the USA! Maybe you'd be happy to hand over power and privalege to the few that remain?
  3. I think the Yeti is more plausible Actually, that is debatable. The alternative to the 'out of africa theory' is that the ubiquitous Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens independently all over the world, resulting in the various races of mankind.
  4. Well, I'm sure one can come up with any number of definitions that exclude human races as sub-species if one wants. However, your definition is not scientifically accepted anywhere as far as I have been able to research. Also, by your definition the very act of two sub-species interbreeding in an overlap area would cancel both sub-species out as such. Considering that the hooded crow and the carrion crow breed with each other where their ranges overlap does not cancel them out as sub-species.
  5. Sorry SkepticLance, you're wrong there. Also, I suggest you read more about the human genome project. There is far more variation in humans than previously thought. I repeat, Human races can quite correctly be called sub-species. If humans cannot be so sub-divided then neither can Tigers/Wolves/Cats etc! The differences are not that small, but for obvious reasons, small enough to allow fully successful interbreeding. There is no "degree of genetic difference" accepted by science that separates one sub-species from another. All that is required is that one sub-species is recognizable and linked to a geographic area. I suggest you read about Carrion and Hooded Crows, for example. The following criteria is for Species, so is even less stringent for sub-species. My highlighting: 1. Members of the group are reliably distinguishable from members of other groups. The distinction can be made in any of a wide number of ways, such as: differently shaped leaves, a different number of primary wing feathers, a particular ritual breeding behaviour, relative size of certain bones, different DNA sequences, and so on. There is no set minimum 'amount of difference': the only criterion is that the difference be reliably discernable. In practice, however, very small differences tend to be ignored. 2. The flow of genetic material between the group and other groups is small and can be expected to remain so because even if the two groups were to be placed together they would not interbreed to any great extent.
  6. bombus

    The Fair Tax

    As said above, this is equivalent to the UK Value Added Tax (VAT). It puts the tax burden on the poorest as they spend most of their income on taxable stuff. It is favoured by the right wing as they favour (and mostly are) the rich. Income tax is the fairest, but the rich can always employ clever accountants so they pay hardly any tax!
  7. Human races are sub-species of human. The characteristics attributed to subspecies are generally derived from changes that evolved as a result of geographical distribution. There are three or four sub-species of human (depending on how you look at it): For want of better terms they are essentially: 1. Caucausoid: includes Europeans, North Africans, Jews, Arabs, Persians, Indians, etc. 2. Archaic White (sometimes categorized as a subclass of the above): Australian aboriginies, Veddans (South India), Anui (Japan), Uralic peoples (Russia). 3. Negroid: Sub-Saharan Africans 4. Mongaloid: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, 'Eskimo', North and South American 'Indians'. Mixing has occured on the fringes of these peoples such as the 'Indo-chinese' (e.g. Vietnamese, Burmese, Nepalese), Ethiopians, some North Africans, Polynesians/Micronesians etc. Some suggest that certain North American 'Indians' are mixed with North Europeans who crossed to America from Europe during the last glaciation. All interesting stuff, and a great argument against racism IMO! Anyway, all are capable of developing into different species if isolated, but remember the concept of species is quite fuzzy anyway. Herring Gulls and Black Backed Gulls are the same species in Canada, but do not breed with each other in Europe. They are known as a 'ring species'. Australian aborigines are a very old race, but are not that unique. They are closely related to the Veddans of South India, the Anui of Japan and Uralic peoples. They show characteristics of the earliest Homo sapiens. And the tribe in Africa with two toes is just a genetic trait that occurs in a small group. It's not linked to a race.
  8. Bees don't really count: 1. Workers cannot reproduce so don't act like 'normal' individuals. A beehive should be thought of as a single animal in this sense. This also applies to ants hence examples of individual ants sacrificing themselves for the colony. 2. Bees only lose their stings when stinging animals with relatively tough hides, e.g a human. When they sting other insects they don't lose their stingers so don't die. On a more general note, apart from pining to death (which isn't quite the same as suicide) I can think of no animal apart from humans that commits suicide. Perhaps this is because animals do not have an ego to protect, and also as far as we can guess, do not really have a concept of life/death complicated enough to make them see death as an escape. Woah, what video's have you been watching?
  9. George Carlin doesn't seem to realise that most species that are going extinct today are doing so BECAUSE of mankinds meddling. They are not going extinct due to 'natural processes'. He's not very funny, and just plain wrong!
  10. Ho ho ho, this is how the world works - how it's always worked. Governments are just gangsters operating on a bigger scale. Democracy in a capitalist society is a sham which allows Joe Public to think he's got a say, but actually we only get a say on the most trivial of issues.
  11. Gleaming white teeth look like false teeth anyway. I wouldn't bother!
  12. Whilst you have a valid point - scientific theories should always be questioned, there is a danger when ideas are challenged by let us say unreliable evidence. In the UK one lone scientists saw a link between MMR Vaccine and autism. Despite the fact that his research was thoroughly investigated by the best minds around - and flatly rejected, thousands of parents wouldn't let their children have the MMR Vaccine. Measles inevitably increased and the death rate for the disease increased, i.e., kids died as a result of one persons nonsense research. Although over 90% of scientists agree that the current increase in GW is anthropogenic, I'd guess that over 50% of people are still skeptical about it because of idiots like Lomborg and Jeremy Clarkson! This makes it harder to address the issue. To skepticlance: This bursts a numner of GW myths: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/index.html
  13. Well in that case it is scientifically meaningless as you cannot draw a line to say what counts as loss and what does not. So from now on, lets not bother using it and say Habitat Change instead, which can be put on a scale. What other forests are these then? Most are not connected, so the tigers could not just move from one to another. If there was not massive conservation effort ongoing NOW tigers would be gone in the next ten years due primarily to habitat loss due to human encroachment. The forest at the back of my house could not support tigers! How would they ever get there? It is actually very possible that all tiger-supporting forests could disappear within the century, and a certainty if conservation effort ceased. I strongly doubt he is right, and I also doubt his motives. At the end of the day it's up to you though. I see this as the inevitable backlash to the green movement being proven correct after all these years. I am sure in 50 years time there will still be people saying GW has nothing to do with humans, just as there are still billions of people who reject natural selection... Anyway, try this link for size: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/index.html ______________
  14. The trouble with your (and Lomborg's) approach, is that you are using an arbitrary and unmeasurable definition of habitat loss to come up with conclusions. It doesn't matter how scrupulous your science is from that point, it is based on very, very loose foundations! You end up excluding so many cases of habitat 'loss' ('change', call it what you will) that the statistics become meaningless, and you can end up saying that habitat loss is a minor cause of extinction. Most conservationists who actually work in the field around the world know this to be nonsense. It's actually impossible that it can be a minor cause of extinctions, because species are dependent on their habitats. It's uncanny that you can't seem to understand this? How could Panda's survive without their bamboo forests? How could mountain Gorillas survive without their habitats? How could tigers survive without thier forests? Also, as I keep pointing out, habitat loss would have caused many more extinctions if it wasn't for concentrated and concerted conservation effort, so the conclusion that habitat loss is not a major factor in extinction is TOTALLY AND UTTERLY WRONG! Lomborg is using statistical tricks to come up with his conclusions, and only those experienced enough can spot his 'sleight of hand'. So while not falsifying scientific work, and indeed using peer reviewed work to back up his claims, it is the way in which they are being used that ends up in him basically being scientifically fraudulent. I can't understand why you would rather take the word of a capitalist statitician who has an interest in denying environmental problems (as addressing them would affect business profits), rather than the 99% of scientists who know him to be full of you know what!
  15. Well the above would therefore include examples such as 1. sulphur pollution killing lichens in a woodland (but nothing else) and; 2. Grey squirrels being introduced to a native british woodland. There is nothing in there that mentions at what scale one should regard the change as habitat loss. It does not mention a large numbers of features. This is because it is, in reality, species dependent. No. The point is that Lomborg appears to argue that habitat loss is not a major cause of extinction (so not a priority to worry about) because few species have gone extinct to habitat loss on its own. Regardless of the fact that the above is a very flawed argument (because it ignores the ongoing massive conservation effort, and doesn't account for the next 100 years) you appear to think that habitat loss is only occurring when an area of land undergoes dramatic change past a threshold which cannot ever be specified, except by you it would seem. This is meaningless to the flora and fauna that occupy a habitat. Red squirrels go extinct when they encounter grey squirrels. Thusly, when we try to conserve them we are limited to certain habitats where greys do not prosper (e.g. conifer woodlands). Red squirrels have become extinct in most of the southern UK as a result of an inability to live in an area of land ('cos of the Greys). To reds, this is just as devastating as if all the trees had been removed. For them, the habitat is destroyed. For tawny owls, however, the habitat is virtually unchanged. This is the reality! If, for the purposes of this discussion, you want to produce a list of things you arbitrarily want to exclude from the term 'habitat loss', then that's fine, but please also include the exact threshold at which a habitat is lost (rather than changed). The thing is, it is exactly this type of argument that we are having that makes Lomborgs conclusions and statements meaningless, ill-informed and ultimately very wrong! The point is that species go extinct to man made (and natural) 'changes' in habitats regardless of whether they are dramatic enough for some people to deem them examples of habitat loss. Thusly if we accept only the most dramatic examples it becomes scientifically meaningless to undertake studies only on those examples, because it is an arbitrary human concept. Maybe we should abandon the term habitat loss, and just use 'habitat change'. Then we could talk about minor changes (introduction of little owls to the UK) and major changes (deforestation of the Amazon basin).
  16. Wiki is good for some things, but always take it with a pinch of salt!
  17. Same difference. Experts criticised Lomborg. Not all habitat loss is caused by humans! Think of volcanoes, floods, meteorite impacts, continents meeting up. The point is that habitat loss (with regard to resulting species extinctions) can take many different forms depending on what species one is considering. It is not subjective, habitat loss is just different for different species. Simple! The wikipedia article on this occasion is not very good, nor very scientific. It actually limits the definition to human caused habitat loss - 'Habitat destruction is any human-induced habitat change that results in a reduction of natural habitat.' - which is plainly over strict for such a general term. However, it does say that any change counts! I beg to differ. bears would not do well in agriculturally improved pasture! However, maybe it was a bad example to choose - I was only illustrating a point, that being the difference between extinction due to a functional loss of habitat, and extinction due to another factor (e.g. hunting).
  18. Like I said, anyone who thinks habitat loss is not linked to species extinction is not worthy of my attention. You sound very sure about that. Funny, 'cos he's the one who's the expert, not you! You may have read, but you have not understood. It depends on which species you are talking about! Habitat loss is different for different species. And you said you knew about ecology! And what point is that exactly. When a certain microbiologist says so, by any chance? Says who? You! Tell that to a red squirrel in the UK! Animal and plants altering their dispersal? What kind of statement is that? The term 'rainforest habitat' is a human conception/description that's handy for us to use to describe certain habitat types to ourselves. Nothing more. Says who? Oh yes, you, again! Anyway, the 'viability of species' is different for each species!! Tigers in an Indian rainforest would be more vulnerable to some changes than rats, or insects or fungi living there. Says you! To the species that may go extinct from rats being introduced to an island it is habitat loss! It is species specific - not an imaginary threshold that needs the approval of SkepticLance or Lomborg. As above! No you are wrong. Let me give you an example. If beavers were reintroduced to the UK they would get along just fine 'cos the habitat they need is still here. They were hunted to extinction by man in the middle ages. Habitat loss was not a factor. If bears were reintroduced it would be very unlikely that they would survive as their simply isn't enough of a suitable habitat left for them as we have cut down too many forests. habitat loss was the major cause of their extinction.
  19. Can you blame them!? Afghanistan is dangerous! Oh, and I'd call Chavez a socialist rather than a liberal (wtf does that really mean anyway?) Chavez is great! Long may he rein.
  20. Err, I thought the term refers to a unified field-theory, as opposed to un-unified field-theories (which we currently have). I don't think there's a unified field. It's just the field that reality exists in. It's kinda another name for the ether (although not exactly the same).
  21. Human evolution is now being driven mainly by intra-species factors, rather than he environment. Humans sexually select for neotenic traits, as this leads to big brains. This isn't likely to change and the reason why bearded women are scarce! I suggest you red 'The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley'. Very very good!
  22. No, Lomborg is wrong because just about ALL scientists say so! Anyway, I work full time in Wildlife Conservation, and I DO know that Lomborg is totally and utterly wrong. It's just a shame that some people like to believe in whacky theories JUST BECAUSE they run counter to popular opinion. It's also a shame, and quite strange (IMO) that, despite your science background, you can't seem to realise that his conclusions are rubbish. Sorry SkeptiLance, this shows that you don't understand what constitutes a habitat, and just repeating 'I DO' doesn't make matters any better. Habitat change and habitat loss can be exactly the same thing to certain species. E.g. The sea is still the sea even if it had no oxygen in it, but to most species in it, a lack of oxygen would constitute a loss of suitable habitat. Just because it still looks like the same habitat to you does not mean it IS the same habitat. If I replace the trees of a deciduous forest with conifers, it's still a forest, but to the species that rely on deciduous forests, the habitat would be lost. If red squirrels need woodlands that do not contain grey squirrels, then an invasion of grey squirrels means that the habitat they can occupy is lost - same thing! This has been explained to you time and time again, but for some unknown reason you just can't see to GET IT! You are not stupid! There are none so blind as those that refuse to see. Lomborg is wrong and so are you.
  23. Nope. My arguments mean more than Lomborg's. And i restate that you (and Lomborg) were totally blown out of the water in that thread, but just wouldn't accept it. The other factors would have had little impact if the habitat had remained intact. Yaaaawwn. As you are a microbiologist may I suggest that you have simply not studied enough ecology. You appear not to understand what constitutes a habitat. Thusly, you are finding it hard to judge when a habitat is lost - just like Lomborg. If you can get a BSc, you can get a PhD. It's just extended study. It doesn't require any more brains. His research is NOT meticulous at all. He is like those creationists who meticulously 'research' scientific papers to 'prove' that evolution is a myth. They cannot interpret what they are referring to either. He is effectively alone. And there's a very good reason why - he's WRONG! YET!!! Total nonsense. Ho ho ho. May I suggest you read the Bible. It's the word of God you know, and PROVES that evolution is a myth. (It makes more sense than Lomborg!) SkepticLance, I am sorry, but IMO you are barking up the wrong tree if you think Lomborg is anything but a good statitician, and you know what they're like - if I had my head in a fire and my feet in a bucket of ice, statistically, I'd be OK!
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