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Everything posted by AzurePhoenix

  1. Awww it was an itty bitty killer kitty. At that size range it'd be pretty similar a situation to that, but you're right. In a corner, in seriousness, it would would respond more violently and effectively, even if actually outmatched.
  2. The canine teeth are functional, they're used to crush tough plants, and are an important threat display, for intimidating rival males or potential predators.
  3. *Shrug* without seeing it I can't comment on that particular "battle." Anyhow, kitties do very little eviscerating.
  4. Well, Siberian tigers will sometimes get into trouble sneaking into villages to kill dogs, and there's really no doubt that a healthy one could put them down rather easily if it put itself into the fight. But the thing to remember is that most animals will avoid a fight if they can help it. A meal's not worth the effort if you get hurt going for it. In the wild, even an apparently mild injury could get you killed, so the prize of a human just isn't worth the effort or the risk of getting a few injuries while putting down a couple of over-sized jackals. Also keep in mind, while Siberian tigers are massive, weighing well over 600 pounds, and Bengals more lion-sized at around 500, the island subspecies are much smaller, the extant Sumatran and extinct Javan about 300 pounds, the extinct Bali a hundred less than those, scarcely larger than a leopard, and weighing about as much or less than a pair of full grown danes, which in that case might pose a very real threat. In a real-life imagining of the story, I would imagine that the tiger would represent one of the three island species. (all weight quotes indicate males. tigresses would be even smaller by comparison)
  5. I tend to "feel" that incest between individuals of significant relatedness is, as stated, "icky." But I don't put much stock in my feelings. I don't see a problem with the concept in a modern society so long as long as a birth doesn't occur. My support is more tentative concerning related individuals with wide age-gaps, particularly parent/offspring pairings, not because of the increased ick factor, but because of the potential risks of psychological abuses or pressures / manipulations that might be inflicted on children to produce potential partners out of them.
  6. Or the fifth option that does apply science and accounts for genetic predispositions and evolution.
  7. I know chocolate-dipped versions and marshmallow fluff/cream treat me the same, but I think I'll typically eat more of the fire-toasted versions before it sets in when camping.
  8. Swansont's 'Mallownausea by way of Psychological Frailty is an accepted variation if the general idea. CaptainPanic's cultural barbarism is an expected and unfortunate consequence of the American loss of interest in God-approved manifest destiny and global conquest, so his act of social terrorism will be quietly ignored until such time as it becomes popular, results in violence, and we'll have to invade a neighboring nation to his that didnt have much to do with it and take their timber. Which we will use to fuel more 'mallow factories. That's what European nations have, right? Timber?
  9. Plus extracted animal collagen. To capture and enslave the air to ensure puff.
  10. How many marshmallows of average, non-mini-size can you ingest in one sitting before you regret it? *Let us henceforth consider only raw, untoasted, unflavored, marshmallows, not dipped in chocolate or chopped in icecream or drizzled with caramel and nuts or anything else. No caffeinated versions, no gelatin-free version, no fish-gelatin-based lies, etc and so on and what have you*
  11. Like Skeptic points out, if homosexuality functioned to reduce an organism's fecundity, it'd be ruthlessly selected against and wiped out of populations wherever it might arise. The opposite is more likely to be true. There are at least two situations that I can think of where homosexuality advantageously helps to maximize the reproductive capacity of either the homosexual in question or their close kin, both of which Skeptic touched on. Among black swans, homosexual male pairs will sometimes fertilize a female, wait for her clutch, then drive her away to rear the young themselves, on average raising a higher number of cygnets to adulthood than heterosexual pairs do. Among humans, there's the Gay Uncle Hypothesis. It was predicted that in pre-agricultural human society, when most people lived in small bands as hunter-gatherers or in small tribal communities, in which familial ties are often much stronger than they are today, a homosexual sibling might not be as likely to have as many or any children of their own to invest in. Instead, the homosexual uncle or aunt might happily dote on any nieces or nephews they might have. As such, the siblings of homosexual individuals would benefit, being able to successfully raise a potentially greater number of children to maturity. A sibling of a homosexual would be more likely (than individuals from family lines that might not produce many or any homosexuals) to carry some of the genes that might contribute to homosexuality, and pass them on to their own greater number of children, perpetuating homosexuality and the cycle. As it turns out, when existing low-population societies of a more "archaic" pre-industrial or mass-scale agricultural makeup were examined, homosexual relatives did tend to devote more of their time and resources to the children of their close kin. The effect doesn't however carry over into large-population, industrialized, westernisish, typically "me-centric" societies.
  12. As part of the thinking goes, many elements associated with an attractive woman are indicators of youth, different elements representing different tactics selected for by either side in the battle of the sexes. Small nose, big eyes, full, shiny hair - all very paedomorphic. Particularly in various European populations, many people are born with lighter hair that darkens as it matures. Perpetually blonde hair could potentially fool potential mates. Among other things, (few traits serve just one purpose) large, firm breasts may serve as an indicator to males of youth by their tendency to sag at a later age, working against the female in her later years, while helping the male avoid wasting his time on lower quality child-bearers. Also, lighter colored eyes make it easier to read subtle cues in the dilation or contraction of the iris. And of course, since humans just tend to be like that, novelty value no doubt makes a strong or even stronger impact on certain traits too. It's not that the male wouldn't happily fertilize below-standard females given the chance, it's just that he'd show preferential treatment and provide greater support to premium mates, who would be more likely to maximize his reproductive success. The thing is, assuming pre-agricultural lifestyles, the novelty of blonde hair would probably not be worth the extreme sacrifice of choosing a stupid mate. Of course nowadays, the Idiocracy-effect could be creeping in from innumerable vectors. Anyhow, blondes have been perceived very differently over the centuries by different societies, so the modern stereotype of the dumb blonde is likely a culturally-driven phenomenon, owing to both generalizations based off of well-known individuals, as well as numerous subtle factors like Skeptic's example.
  13. Hmm... perhaps restate that in expanded form? I'm taking various potential meanings from it, and if I answer now it'll be a bit insanely long and convoluted.
  14. I reject the concept of anything "supernaturally" based as undefined and therefore meaningless without sufficient explanation of its fundamental nature as it relates to explainable reality, but hold an ignostic position that anything someone regards as worthy of worship or reverence or what have you and behaves as such towards, is a god, whether it's the Pharaoh Khufu, Emperor Hirohito, a stalker's favorite celebrity, whatever, but only within the context of the worshiper's personal perspective. So even assuming the possibility of the eventual existence of a posthuman superpower, or even a nigh-omnipotent creator-entity on the scale of Yahweh, neither would be a god except to the people who regard them as such.
  15. We've found many transitional forms that bridge the gap between anatomically modern humans, and our more distant ancestors, any of which fits the bill for what used to be popularly called "the missing link" (or at least is a fair example of a close cousin of an actual direct ancestor). And from those, the case is about as solid as it can get that we're descended from African australopithecines (whether of a known or unknown species), which gave rise to early members of African-based Homo such as H. habilis (which so closely bridges the gap between Australopithecus and Homo that some specialists contest which genus it actually falls into.) While the finer details of the ancestry linking the various later species of Homo is interesting, I'd suggest that the more interesting and less certain mystery is that of those ancestors bridging the gaps between African australopithecines and their own knuckle-walking quadrupedal ancestors. "Missing Link" is a bad term, and I think it'd be helpful if you explained just what you interpret the phrase to mean. Anyhow, based on genetic evidence, this new "Denisovan" lineage would have split off from the ancestor of the neanderthals after the common ancestor of those two lines split off from that of our own ancestry, though it's still a very interesting find, especially as it seems that the Denisovans may have interbred with the ancestors of some modern populations of humans, just as it's strongly suggested neanderthals did with those ancestors of a wider population of all modern humans outside of Africa.
  16. *shrug* In bio I've heard the term syntropy used to describe a system exporting entropy to keep its own low. Obviously, it'd only apply on the local scale or whatever you call it.
  17. Extensive studies focus on animal intelligence, with strong indications of self-awareness, foresight, introspective capacity, the ability to recognize that another mind has a different perspective on reality, etc. For example, keas examine experimental latches before attempting to unlatch them, rather than just learning the right thing to do through the trial and error of random action (as displayed by cats and dogs, by comparison,) African Red parrots have displayed the capacity to deceive, pretending to get answers wrong when they're bored with a test in order to trick the experimenter into ending the testing (showing recognition of perspective besides their own,) and one coined a new word to identify a new fruit (yes, it was based on two other fruit names it knew, but nothing a human creates is devised ex nihilo either), dolphins display indecision, communication and creative invention, and various animals pass tests that indicate self-awareness. And most obviously, the great apes are clearly capable of expressing any number of these elements via actual human language. The non-human mind is widely studied with vast numbers of peer reviewed papers on the subject. Many of the same tests used to study non-human awareness and intelligence are similar to those used to study the development of the mind of humans, especially young children (which the vast majority of people tend to accept as self-aware people without any examination of the claim.) Are we absolutely certain than a killer whale is self aware? No. But I can only be a small degree more certain that my nineteen year old brother is self-aware. All the elements of the mind mentioned above are well-defined. The concept of Free Will simply is not. There is no comparison between pioneer's nonsensical claim, and my well-defined, widely supported one. In what way do any of these things indicate that a completely undefined "transcendent influence" is somehow involved, as opposed to more mundane explanations? More consistent how? What people? People who have presented experimental data that's passed the rigors of peer review? Has anyone yet even offered up an alternative explanation? Such as a coherent hypothesis even remotely related to the vaguely undefined premise you repeatedly bandy about? I seriously, absolutely would love to see one. No sarcasm, it'd be just about the most interesting thing ever. You did not offer one. You are failing to comprehend what I'm saying. You did NOT offer an alternative. You didn't suggest a damn thing. There is no hypothesis of what a soul is supposed to be. If you cannot define the thing how can you offer it as an alternative explanation for anything? The point's still there, I'm just coming back to it. And also, no. They just don't hold up to close examination. Regardless of whether or not Ed's statement is true, your response to it shows nothing of the sort. You might as well have suggested that a rat divided by the color orange equals a thought, is an alternative to the big bang theory. I've read modern and archaic apologetics, western metaphysics, eastern metaphysics, and no matter where you look, all you ever find are superficial descriptions of what a soul or spirit is alleged to be in a symbolic or comparative sense (most often comparing it to wind/air/breath/fire/light), without any description that has any substance, or suggestion of underlying mechanisms. And this is where it circles around back to the topic, that many myth systems don't make much or any distinction between the spiritedness of humans or other animals. How do you determine which best describes reality? Why strict human exceptionalism at the complete exclusion of other intelligent species, rather than varying degrees of spiritedness the same way intelligence varies? Or full-scale animism at the other end of the spectrum? Even if you assume the existence of something that would, were it defined, mesh with our faint conception of the soul, what is this distinction between humans and other lifeforms based on? Why pick one soul myth over the other? Yes... I think it's very clear that the feelings that drive any creature's moral behaviors are the result of programming, just as our own are, whether through inherent biological instinct or upbringing/experience (including the effects of intellectual consideration). I do grant you, we are certainly distinct in the sense that we have the capacity to examine ourselves and other subjects with a level of complexity even the other self-aware, introspection-capable species lack. But those differences are only a matter degree, not novel traits unique to humans, and the same variation clearly occurs even between human individuals.
  18. Define free will, then tell me a dolphin, african gray parrot, raven, elephant or any of the great apes don't have it too. Any not nonsensical definition of free will that you could mock up would ultimately apply to any of them just as well as it does to members of our own species. It’s one thing to consider such. I certainly have myself for the sake of fair consideration. But regardless of willingness to consider the hypothesis, ultimately there just isn’t the faintest whisper of evidence in support of it. In the meantime, current neurological theories are becoming increasingly sufficient to at least paint a picture of what we call the mind, without having to randomly tack on a massive complex of baseless assumptions. Regardless, your “alternative” isn’t anything of the sort. It doesn’t suggest or explain anything. What it does is rely on an absolute unknown to explain a partial unknown. It’s rather like trying to explain the origin of life by proposing panspermia. How does the mind work? I dunknow. Oh, I know! What if there’s this thing that makes the mind work!? What is this thing? I have no idea. How’s it work? No clue. Is there any reason to think it might be there? Not really. I’ll call it the soul and anyone who dismisses it upon close examination is close-minded and biased! Great, you’ve arbitrarily removed the problem a step for no reason without explaining anything. Such an “alternative” doesn’t serve any rational purpose, but is solely based on the intellectually crippling bias of wanting it to be true. I’d actually be more surprised if he did have some understanding of the distinction between soul and body considering there is no coherent description of what a soul is supposed to be (as distinct from a materially based mind), how it’s supposed to arise, where it resides, what it consists of, or how it might function or interact with and influence matter. I’ll bite, are you distinguishing between descriptive morality and normative morality (which is something we’ve discussed incessantly already)? Or something else?
  19. I have discovered Christian Talk Radio.

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. blike


      From this friday: "Bob and Fred also review Ann Gibbon's 6,000-year age for Mitochondrial Eve, the mother from whom all human beings have descended, bringing that saga up-to-date. "

    3. AzurePhoenix


      Oh god. (that'd be in the non-orgasmic but still flippantly commandment-breaking context)

    4. ydoaPs


      Alex, I'm pretty sure Glenn Beck's program counts as Christian conspiracy theory talk radio.

  20. Men are humans. Woman are humans. Therefore men are women and women are men. No wait, you're just a moron. The scientific definition is what it is. I figured you might have noticed by now, but this happens to be a science forum. An animal is any heterotrophic, typically multicellular , eukaryotic organism lacking rigid cell-walls, motile at some point in their lifecycle, and sharing a common ancestor. A cat is a mammal of particular descent within the kingdom animalia with a particular set of distinguishing characteristics. A human is a mammal of particular descent within the kingdom animalia with a completely different set of distinguishing characteristics and immediate ancestry. A human is only a cat if it shares the distinguishing characteristics and ancestry of felidae. In which case it wouldn't be a human at all, would it? Yes. And those differences are what distinguish modern humans as a species within the genus Homo, within the order Primates, as opposed to a species within the genus Felis, within the order Carnivora. So, obviously, we're perfectly distinguished from felines as per our myriad differences. So what's your issue? But let's pretend for a minute that reality was bent to your random whims of preference and sense of human exceptionalism. How would you define the kingdom animalia, and on what biological grounds would you separate humans into our own distinct kingdom? And, here's the kicker, where would you draw the oh-so-arbitrary line between the two kingdoms? At what particular point along the chain of ancestry do our ancestors stop being members of the "People Kingdom" and become members of the "Animal Kingdom" ?
  21. Europe and Asia aren't older than the Americas in any sense, it's just that the Americas were new to the people who discovered and conquered them. Rodents in general seem to have originated in the late Cretaceous or so, across the supercontinent Laurasia, which was a clump of America, Europe and Asia all together. I'm not really all that aware of the intricacies of rodent diversification throughout the eons, but various families would have split and diverged as the continents themselves did, and of course land bridge events throughout the eons may've resulted in back and forth invasions I'd imagine, but I have no idea which of the genera as we classify them can be traced the furthest back.
  22. Species are classified with respect to shared ancestry and degree of relatedness. Old world rats and packrats don't comprise a monophyletic group. All the packrat species within the genus Neotoma are descended from a single shared ancestor.A bit further back along the family tree and you'll find the ancestor that would split into packrats, deermice, and some other new world rodents. Gotta go much deeper into the ancestry before you find the ancestor shared by Neotoma and old world Rattus. Superficial resemblances that arise independently in distinct families are referred to as convergent evolution, and have no influence on classification.
  23. that assumes some solid definition of the title "god" that doesn't exist. For example, people worshipped gods who they didnt imagine to have anything to do with the universe's origins. Or, someone who worships a particular god, (say, Allah, or Ahura Mazda) could say that the Designer isn't God as they accept or desire it to be. You say the designer might as well be God, well for you, sure, if that's your criteria to a god, but then, for me, a god is simply anything someone finds worthy of reverence or what have you, and treats it as such. Hmm, curiosity. If the designer were a college student with slacker tendencies and grades, and made our universe on a whim on a popular computer program something like Spore that he bought at his world's walmart, would you still consider him God?
  24. I imagine this is more a matter of animal being a homonym for two different meanings. There's animal in the biological sense, in which case, we irrefutably are (and so are insects, and jellyfish, and sponges,) then there's animal in the philosophical sense of being removed from the status of personhood or being civilized. This second version of "animal" is probably better represented by the word "beast." You have to consider that most people really don't have any real technical comprehension of biology, or philosophy for that matter, so the distinction is inevitably lost on most people. Ok, let's assume that you mean you aren't an animal in the "beast" sense of the word, in a philosophical sense, rather than actually claiming to not be a biological animal (I'm hoping you are though, cuz that'd be amazingly fun). Assuming that to be the case, sentience is a trait of countless other species besides ourselves. Sapience is a little less common by comparison and I'd say of more interesting note, but again, can be applied to a number of other species. If some combination of the two are what you mean then dolphins and elephants aren't beasts but are Elephant Beings and Dolphin Beings. If sentience IS all you mean, then even tortoises aren't beasts but Tortoise Beings.
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