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Everything posted by AL

  1. Why equate disagreement with intolerance? No one's saying let's hurt Creationists or persecute them, and everyone is well within their rights, including the Creationists who run publications and websites dedicated to defeating evolution.
  2. Yes, that was pretty funny. Other highlights include his claim that the "peer review" his book supposedly underwent was more rigorous than that undergone by mainstream scientific literature. From the PA ACLU blog: http://aclupa.blogspot.com/2005/10/all-part-of-scientific-process-part-1.html Turns out though, that one of the "peer reviewers" Behe cited (Dr. Michael Atchison) never actually read the book.
  3. If by "discrete number" you meant "integer' date='" I fail to see how that makes your argument meaningful. All I see is question begging. "They're different, so they're not equal." You and all the other proponents of 0.9_ not equaling 1 really need to get over this idea that if some expression is to be evaluated numerically in an infinite number of steps that it must therefore be some sort of phantom number. Consider that the square root of 2 has an infinite number of digits. If you multiplied it by itself, you'd be multiplying two infinitely long numbers, yet even a grade schooler can see that the product is 2 and wouldn't argue to "stop [multiplying] infinitely." Likewise, the solutions to other infinite operations can be deduced without resorting to numerical/empirical methods that involve actually carrying out an infinite number of steps. As has already been shown a zillion times, 0.9_ is easily written as an infinite geometric series, with a sum that is rigorously deduced to be 1.
  4. That's good to hear. Next time I get tickets to a "You're my Baby's Daddy" episode of Jerry Springer, I'll be sure to bring this up, nullify the DNA paternity tests, and free the oppressed deadbeats dads of the world from the iron tyranny of parental responsibility. Edit: Oh wait, common ancestry. So when Maury Povich reunites long lost siblings by DNA, I'll spoil the joy by bringing this up and telling them to keep looking.
  5. Bugmenot.com has been around quite a while now. No one has the power to shut them down, really, as they're not breaking any laws, as far as I'm aware. At worst, they may be violating some other website's Terms of Use and the offending account may be closed (or whatever punishment is stipulated in the ToU), but then bugmenot.com can easily acquire a new one.
  6. Kind of like when Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered by a violent Islamic radical for making a film depicting the brutality of Islamic radicals? So sad, I liked Theo van Gogh.
  7. I have a haunted bridge I want to sell you. It's a steal of a deal' date=' trust me. Well I consider myself open-minded too, but probably not in the way you use the expression. Many people seem to think that being open-minded means entertaining weird, wacky beliefs and taking an agnostic, fence-straddling position. To me, open-mindedness is about giving weird and wacky ideas a fair hearing, but once the proponents of ideas like telekinesis have had their say and failed to make their case, there is no reason for me to continue straddling the fence instead of justifiably concluding that telekinetics is for loonies. This isn't closed-mindedness; to the contrary, it is effective use of one's mind.
  8. I have no problem with a woman being president, generally speaking. If it's someone I like, I'll vote her in. If Ann Coulter is running with Michelle Malkin as her running mate, I'd vote them both into office in a year ending in 0. Hopefully, it'll restart the trend broken by Reagan of presidents dying in office when elected in a year ending in 0, and maybe start a new one where the vice president goes with. [smiley devil emoticon goes here]
  9. I think you guys are really, grossly exaggerating the admissions standards to MIT. I knew people from high school with SAT scores in the high 1300s / low 1400s that got in. Weighted GPA was well over 4.0, but unweighted, they get in with about 3.6-3.8 GPA. As far as the claim that you need at least a 1590 to get in (unless you're the 2%), I doubt there are even enough students in the country with that kind of score to fill up MIT's incoming freshman class. Regarding the 1600 SAT/ 36 ACT valedictorian that got rejected, I seriously, seriously doubt that story is true. Did this person have a criminal record? There's no way you'd be rejected with that kind of background unless there were bizarre extenuating circumstances. Here are admissions stats for MIT (undergraduate): http://admissions.mit.edu/AdmissionsWeb/appmanager/AdmissionsWeb/Main?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageWhosAtMIT#admissions
  10. I'm sure you can have fun deriving simple relations between the two yourself. Pi is related to a circle (circumference/diameter). Phi is related to pentagons (diagonal/side) and pentagrams. So a good way to start is to inscribe a pentagon/pentagram in a circle and fool around with the trigonometry until you get a nifty relation, possibly involving sin and cos.
  11. AL

    Penguin Politics

    I don't get Medved's comparison of March of the Penguins to The Passion of the Christ. The article seems to suggest it has something to do with family values? Huh?
  12. An infinitely small number can exist in another system, like the hyperreals (*R), but not in R. Once you agree that we are talking about the real numbers, then you must play by R's rules. There is no such thing as a real non-zero number with an infinitesimal value in R -- it follows directly from the Archimedean property. Further, that 1 and .999_ are equal follows directly from that, since there is no infinitesimal value you can get by subtracting them.
  13. Evolution is working when bad behavior is punished as well. If our own behavior causes our own demise, evolution is still working.
  14. Hmm...interesting there's no mention in the article about sales performance of the hybrid SUVs, like the Ford Escape Hybrid, and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The Highlander in particular is an impressive piece of engineering. It's rated at 30 mpg (combined hwy/city) with room for 7. Of course, actual fuel efficiency is probably lower, but it's still as good as many compact cars, so the market can have its cake and eat it too. The Escape has been out a while now, but I'm guessing the Highlander is too new a release to for us to get any good sales data on.
  15. This then, is our irreconciliable disagreement. I stated earlier that some of the "higher" animals should be given greater weight such that any proposal to experiment on them would be less likely to receive a green light. Although there really isn't any exact, quantitative way to measure or distinguish a "higher" or "lower" animal (and we can debate this 'til Hell reaches absolute zero and whether or not intelligence should be given greater weight in valuation than say, the ability to fly or use sonar), I do know which animals I'd save first from a fire at a zoo, and implicit in that subjective "measure" is this ranking of "higher" and "lower." As far as retarded infants go, given the greater capacity for the loved ones of the retarded infant to feel pain and suffering than the loved ones of a chimp, the retarded infant gets priority.
  16. Lucasspa, you still haven't explained how ID is scientific. William Dembski makes the dubious argument all the time on his Uncommon Descent blog that ID is scientific because it claims certain levels of complexity cannot be produced by evolutionary processes, and that this is falsifiable if one can show these levels of complexity can arise by evolution. That is not building a positive scientific case for ID -- that is assuming a false dichotomy that if evolution is falsified, ID is defaulted to. If ID can be regarded as science for this reason, we may as well regard the existence of rain gods to be a scientific theory -- they can be falsified by meteorology, else regarded as a default position without ever building a positive case. Also, you mentioned Behe's Darwin's Black Box as the evidence for ID. Have you read the book? No positive case for ID is made. It is a negative case against evolution, that there exists certain things Behe feels evolution will never be able to explain for philosophical reasons, and by the magic of false dichotomy, ID triumphs. If you want to regard ID as "scientific" as part of a political/judicial strategy to get it thrown out, that's another thing, but clearly it is not science qua science.
  17. What use is the Gaia theory, really? It doesn't explain anything, nor does it predict anything. It's just renaming "biosphere" to "Gaia."
  18. Lucaspa, if you insist that ID is testable, then propose a test. How do you test that some thing was manufactured by a "supernatural" entity?
  19. IMM, what I originally wanted to know was why you don't feel it is justified to sacrifice lab animals for medical research (not testing on cosmetics and so forth). I then went slightly off on a tangent to discuss why I feel that in some respects we do, whether we acknowledge it or not, give priority to human lives. The article you posted here by Singer is all well and good, but in it, I see nothing that condemns the use of animals to appease the suffering of humans. He even acknowledges that human experience is greater than that of a mouse, and from this I think a reasonable case can be made for lab animal research. Well, further, if we agree that it is acceptable for a carnivore to eat because it would perish otherwise, why is it unacceptable for us to kill an animal if a human, suffering some ailment that could possibly be cured through animal testing, would perish otherwise? Don't get me wrong -- of course I wouldn't approve killing chimpanzees to develop allergy medicine, but giving tumors to mice to learn more about how cancer works is something else entirely.
  20. There are few things that can be proven absolutely. Even a logically deduced conclusion is only as true as the premises it assumes. That said, if faith is defined as belief without evidence, then belief in evolution requires no faith. There is evidence for it. That this evidence falls short of absolute is irrelevant. The "evidence" you present here, first of all, is non-empirical, so it certainly cannot be regarded as science. As an a priori inference, it fails. You cannot infer design from "complexity" alone without making observations. If I stumbled upon a perfectly spherical rock in nature, I would probably conclude it was designed, but not because it's complex (a sphere is simple). The reason I conclude design is inductive: based on my observations of nature and natural phenomena, I know of no natural process that can carve out a perfectly smooth, spherical rock, so I infer that a human probably did it. This inference is not a priori. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it is impossible to prove design a priori.
  21. I think if it is held that killing an animal in self-defense is justified, then it is as well justified that predators be eliminated, since they must, of necessity, harm another creature (or we can cage them where they can do no harm, but that's tantamount to a death sentence anyway, since they must do harm to survive unless they are also detritivorous). Not that I advocate wiping them out, as they serve a vital ecological function, but of course, I acknowledge that this ecological consideration is not moral in nature. I'm not sure how giving up dominion over animals isn't fundamentally equivalent to moral neglect. Well, I'm not really sure what "dominion" means in this context. But acknowledging that we have finite resources to tackle these sorts of problems (as acknowledged by the child drowning scenario), we are forced to prioritize who and what to give moral protections to. Unless this prioritization is done indiscriminately such that one would be just as willing to (say) save a rat as a human from a burning apartment complex, implicit in any discriminating heirarchy of priorities is that things on top have more value (by some measure) than things below. If you get feedback, don't hesitate to post it here. It never hurts to have new ideas to discuss.
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