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Mr Skeptic

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Everything posted by Mr Skeptic

  1. Mental state can contribute to wellness or sickness. But I think "brokenhearted" would at most be a contributing factor.
  2. Crystalline ionic substances can have very large lattice energies (basically ionic bond strength), especially for inorganic compounds of elements on opposite sides of the periodic table. Yet the bonds can be easily "broken", eg by dissolving in water where the water molecules are dipolar and rearrange so as to weaken the effects of the charge. If you're talking biologically relevant molecules, the comparative strength of the ionic bonds is extremely weak compared to the covalent bonds, and are even more easily broken.
  3. Race obviously has a lot of biological differences, a few of them quite relevant to people's abilities and many not. It's not all just to genetics though; different races have different cultures and different diets and different histories and different average social class. Even if it was proven that some of these differences were genetic, what would it matter? I think all persons should be treated equal and genetics does not play a role in how I define a person. I'm not saying that all people are equal, just that belonging to a race that can run faster on average doesn't mean you can get away with murder, or whatever other example you might think of where laws would apply differently.
  4. Ophiolite pretty much summed it up for me. I don't post "new ideas" because first I need to do what I can to develop the idea, and only then is it worth it to ask other people for input. And almost always with the expectation that said idea is incorrect but I was just not clever or educated enough to know why, but would really like to know. I do also have some super-grandiose ideas (I sometimes like to daydream). I never post them. Why? If there were a half-way decent chance that that idea would go anywhere, I'd take out a loan and get working on said idea, not hand it out to a bunch of random people who would either think it a crackpot idea or perhaps steal it (If I wanted to share that sort of idea I'd do it much more privately). And if there's realistically no chance the idea is of any value, then other people really won't (shouldn't) care about the idea.
  5. I've not seen any evidence that the Bible has anything to say concerning sex where the intention is not to reproduce. Please don't confuse the Catholic Church with the Bible. If you think people can't have babies if they're not married, I've got news for you. The Apostle Paul is not Jesus. Don't confuse Victorian Era morality with the Bible either.
  6. Don't be so naive as to take a politician's word for something as evidence of anything. Obama can't say we're helping a regime change, because that would look bad. By our actions it's pretty clear we're kicking Quaddafi out. We're not invading every country that has resources either. Why can't we have more than one reason to intervene? And of course there's also the matter of degree.
  7. Yes it is possible, in two ways: 1) More than one sperm could fertilize an egg. I think in humans that would be fatal, but that happens a lot in plant species. 2) A child can be a chimera, a fusion between two different zygotes (which would otherwise probably develop into fraternal twins). This happens rarely enough without the fraternal zygotes having different fathers as well.
  8. Obama as President is bound by oath to defend the Constitution, whether he likes it or not.
  9. Consciousness is very useful, and a precious resource. Most of your stuff is therefore done unconsciously. But the important things are brought to your consciousness, that you may make a better decision. There are some people who never feel pain. It is not nice being one of those, as you can't tell if you got hurt without looking.
  10. I agree with Marat. Philosophy is at its heart a system to ensure that given your assumptions are true, the conclusions you draw from them are true (a system for preserving truth). You'll get to practice drawing conclusions, and also spotting faulty reasoning. Even though in science you'll use a lot of inductive logic, you also use lots of deductive logic. You can't do science without knowing these sorts of things, and philosophy studies them in detail. Also, it improves your ability to think clearly by asking you to formally state your assumptions, and practice drawing conclusions from assumptions you don't really believe.
  11. This one was found by ydoaps:
  12. I doubt we'd give them the choice. We're a very xenophobic species, and on a purely practical level the AI is a threat to us. Most of us would have no empathy with them because they probably wouldn't have cute organic bodies and we probably would not think them persons. And if we don't try to wipe them out we'd probably expect them to be our slaves. Do you disagree?
  13. I think heredity can make the difference between someone with the intelligence of an amoeba or a human genius. How said individual is nurtured can have some effect on that too. I'll let you work out which effect is the larger. However, if you restrict the question to only the genetic variability within H Sapiens, nature and nurture have approximately equal effects, with one or the other being more important depending on the specific context. Twin studies are the gold standard to tell the difference for any particular attribute.
  14. Communism is great in theory. In practice, there are several difficulties such as that the people in control tend to have a larger share of the wealth, and depending on how you implement there is little incentive to do any work (or to do productive work as opposed to easy work).
  15. If you don't like textbooks, you could study online. One fairly good source is Wikipedia; you can use that to get a broad overview of just about any topic, and it also contains plenty of references. Other than that, there are some more specialized sources for information elsewhere online, but you need to know how to search to find them.
  16. God would have been better off just writing a message in the sky or something. Then not only would people know God was talking to them, they'd also not think Him a big jerk. Looks to me like someone who doesn't understand the basics of science. When the scientists says, "I don't know" it means "I know of several different ways it could be, but don't know how to predict the facts with any of those". Just because people are too honest to make up a story to explain something doesn't mean that they shouldn't be listened to. Few scientists care about others' beliefs; believing in God or not is no different than believing in the Copenhagen vs "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics. However, when you replace scientific facts with stories from an ancient mythbook, then you will be ridiculed; if you claim to know something is true evidence will be demanded of you.
  17. But 2+2=4 is a proven mathematical fact (with peano arithmatic definitions of "+" and "="). This would mean that for 2+2=17.3, either those symbols would simply have different meaning (so no effect), or that there is a contradiction in the world (in which case better just say suppose A and not A).
  18. Meat and blubber No, whaling was done plenty back in the old days, more for the blubber I think than the meat. Several species are endangered. Others not. It is a long and painful death, because you can't just pick up a whale and euthanize it. Harpoon it and wait for blood loss and exhaustion to kick in, then you can kill it. An excuse because of a loophole in a whaling ban. Whales take a long time to reproduce; as fellow mammals we empathize with them more; because of their size we cannot offer them a quick and humane death (quite the opposite); many whales are Endangered. Whales aren't fish, so eating them rather than fish might not have those health benefits (not sure of that; it could be the ocean diet that gives the fish their oils). The common minke whale is classified Least Concern. The trophic level of baleen whales is 3.2-3.4, whereas for our favorite carnivorous fish like tuna it is 4.4-4.8. From an ecological perspective, you can eat 1 lb of tuna, ~10 lb of baleen whale, or ~100 lb sardines using the same amount of resources. I've never seen anyone argue for replacing tuna with whale meat though.
  19. I'd have to say, your opinion of these people seems rather low. I'm sure they'd figure out really quickly that they can burn wooden debris (if it's too wet they can dry it by keeping a pile of it next to the fire), if they happen to be in need of fuel right now.
  20. Good point. It seems to me that surprisingly few people have died for a proper civil war. Gaddafi does seem to be a bad person but the media will always amplify these things as much as possible. Good point. We seem to like to do that in the US as well, blaming/praising the President and virtually ignoring everyone else in government. Politicians have been known to lie on occasion. Yes. That sounds like someone who's county imports far more medicine than it exports wants to benefit at others' expense under the pretense of helping the poor and preventing (unlikely) conspiracies. If you want a sign of someone who loves to help the poor look for his actions and not his words about what others should be doing.
  21. No, it means he is sincere and able to think logically.
  22. I think the irony is that some people can't see that sometimes it isn't about the oil. Or rather, the problems in Libya are about the oil but not for the reasons you think... look up resource curse. By controlling the oil in his country, Gaddafi does not need to collect taxes and can pretty much ignore his own people (he's not dependent on their cooperation in the form of paying taxes), and can also fund his army nicely. Unlike the war in Iraq, there is 1) very legitimate cause, and 2) international support, including the UN and the Arab League, and 3) there's to be no ground forces so the end result will be the choice of Libyans. You'd think the Arab League would disapprove of this effort if it was to loot the country's oil, since oil is basically all the Arab League is about.
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