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Posted: 22 August 2007 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Sorry to hear about your cousin - you seem to having a rough time of things of late.  Whether you would say that this brainwashing is induction rather than contagion is a mute point, since the virus thing was only ever meant to be metaphorical, but the psychosis apect of religion (hallucinations or delusions about supernatural stuff being real) are certainly transmissable and that is something that other mental illnesses don’t have in common with religions.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Thanks, but that doesn’t take away the fact that they did a number on him, which didn’t help.  As for mental illness:  They do if you are born in it such an environment.  Dysfunctional behaviour is taught and people can learn insanity via mind games or if it starts from birth.  I’m not sure if that makes any sense or not, but what I’m saying it is like the cycle of abuse that is passed down from one generation to the next or even addiction being passed down albeit genetically.  Even depression can be learned and after it is learned, it can turn into a chemical imbalance or one can be born with the imbalance, either way, the cycle of depression can be stopped if the parent gets REAL psychological help, not dogmatic religion.  Thing is, if a person is determined, they can break the cycle.  I am happy to say that neither one of my sons have bought into fundamentalism.  I avoided exposing them to it.  Yes, one calls himself a Tao Buddhist and the other makes his own rules for himself (whatever that means), but neither of them are really religious.  My younger son, the one who makes his own rules, laughs at fundie beliefs and think they are stupid.  I’ve broken the cycle, thank goodness!  Of course, I never fell for any of it and because of that, I was told there was something wrong with me and my thinking was wrong, but it took Bob Price and believe it or not Bishop Spong too to show me I was normal- there is nothing wrong with my lack of belief in the supernatural.  Of course, I’m speaking to the chior.  Even so, I never liked what I saw in evangelical fundamentalist churches and never returned, except for my grandmother’s funeral, after I left home.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 August 2007 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’d agree with that, but I’d say that was a slightly different thing.  For example, some sexual abuse victims go on to become sex offenders themselves and homicidal psychopaths often have a history of severe beatings (usually with serious head injuries) and neglect in childhood, which is what I’m referring to as induction of a mental illness.  However, the reason I would use the virus analogy in the case of religion is that crucially, sufferers from this condition share the exact same hallucination that is passed on from one person to another.  Now, someone who thinks he or she is Napoleon can’t get someone else to believe them and share the same delusion.  As to your Aunt and her treatment of your cousin, yes it’s terrible, but the poor woman is suffering from religion herself.  And before I judge a girl, I like to walk a mile in her shoes.  I’m just kinky like that.

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Posted: 23 August 2007 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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These days it makes sense to put your sci-fi in your sci.

0,1425,i=108792,00.jpg

My PMA400 has a 30 gig drive and could easily hold 15,000 books if I didn’t have 5 gig of MP3s on it.  Gotta have music while you read.  There is a bunch of SF on Gutenberg.  It is all somewhat dated, the early 60’s is the most recent but we don’t have FTL drives yet so we haven’t caught up with some of it yet.  I find it very funny that our computers are better than most of the the ones in the pre-1980 sci-fi books.

The Door Through Space,            DL by M.Z.Bradley       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19726
The Land That Time Forgot,          DL by E.R.Burroughs     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/551
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/8763
A Princess of Mars (vol.1),          DL by E.R.Burroughs *    SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/62
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19515
The Gods of Mars (vol.2),          DL by E.R.Burroughs     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/64
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/21519
Warlord of Mars (vol.3),            DL by E.R.Burroughs *    SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/68
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/8750
The Moon Pool,                    by A.Merritt       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/765
Storm Over Warlock,                  by A.Norton         SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20788
Key Out of Time,                    by A.Norton       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19651
Star Hunter,                      by A.Norton       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19090
Little Fuzzy,  (***+)                by H.Beam Piper     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/18137
Lone Star Planet,  (**+)              by H.Beam Piper     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20121
Murder in the Gunroom,                by H.Beam Piper     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/17866
Ministry of Disturbance,              by H.Beam Piper     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20659
Legacy,      (1962)                by J.H.Schmitz     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/21510
The Status Civilization,            DL by R.Sheckley       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20919
Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,    by M.W.Shelley     SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/84
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20038
Skylark Three,                    by E.E.Smith       SF
The Skylark of Space,              DL by E.E.Smith       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20869
Triplanetary,                  DL by E.E.Smith       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20782
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,          by J.Verne *      SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/6538
From the Earth to the Moon             by J.Verne *      SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/83
In the Year 2889     by Jules Verne and Michel Verne         SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19362
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth       by J.Verne *      SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/18857
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/19513
2 B R 0 2 B,                      by K.Vonnegut       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/21279
The First Men in the Moon             by H.G.Wells *      SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1013
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/8972
The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H. G. Wells *  SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/11696
In the Days of the Comet               by H. G. Wells *    SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3797
The Invisible Man                   by H. G. Wells *    SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/5230
The Time Machine,                  by H.G.Wells       SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/35
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/17401
The War of the Worlds                 by H. G. Wells *    SF
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/36
             
I have read stuff by Bradley but not that. I’m pretty sure I read Princess of Mars but it was probably close to 40 years ago. I have heard Campbell mentioned a lot but I can’t say I read anything by him. del Rey and Merritt I have read and plenty of stuff by Norton. I know I have read stuff by Piper and he was decent. I have got the book Legacy, I think it was decent but I don’t recall the story but I remember the cover and it doesn’t bring up a negative reaction. I definitely remember Status Civilization and liked it.  I read Triplanetary by E.E.Smith it wasn’t bad but is obviously dated stuff.  What do you expect from the 40’s.  LOL

If there are two links for a title the second is an audio book. It might be computer generated or human read.

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Posted: 31 August 2007 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I just read a horribly boring paperback novel called “Esau” by Philip Kerr (the jacket blurbs compare him to Michael Crichton!).  The premise is that the legendary yeti turn out to be a remnant tribe of Gigantepithecus, and an expedition—led by a beautiful, sexy female paleoanthropologist (the author actually has the nerve to compare her to a Penthouse centerfold)—sets out to the Himalayas to study them, complicated by both the threat of a thermonuclear war between India and Pakistan and the presence of a CIA spy satellite which has just happened to have crash-landed right in the middle of the yeti’s secret, previously undiscovered valley.

[sheepishly clearing his throat]  Be that as it may, I found a rather interesting paragraph fairly early in the proceedings, just after the author has described paleoanthropoligy as a science “lacking a proper empirical method”—

“Sometimes the fossils were made to fit the theories instead of the other way around and it was not uncommon for people to buy fossils from a competitor’s sources with the express purpose of demolishing a contadictory theory….And the world was still recovering from the revelation in 1955 that the Piltdown skull discovered in 1912 at a gravel pit in southern England had been a blatant forgery.”

And here was me thinking that this “revelation” was a wonderful example of the empirical, self-correcting nature of science, and nothing which needed to be “recovered from”.  Sadly, I was about to peg this author as a sort of back-door Creationist when he revealed that the sexy female heroine happened to be an atheist.  I rolled my eyes, already bracing myself for the mystical experience she was going to have later in the book which would convince her that everything she believed, especially everything she believed about science, was Wrong.

Surprisingly, however, although she did have a rather mystical experience (with a charming little Tibetan priest walking around the snow with barely more than a loin-cloth), her skepticism about anthropomorphical dieties appeared to remain intact at the end of the novel.  And the little lama himself had some interesting things to say…  “As an object of intellectual interest, I think my brother [referring to the yeti] is not much more than an abstraction to you.  But to my soul, he is an object of joy.  To the enlightened man he is a thing of truth and beauty, a window through which one may gaze in wonder at the universe.”

But doesn’t that sum up the way the best scientists would also see him?  The author of this book seems to have a rather cynical attitude about the nature of science, expressing the opinion over and over again that science merely destroys things, tears them apart to see what makes them tick.  Isn’t science creative?  Isn’t it like trying to peer through a window at the “wonder of the universe”?

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Posted: 02 September 2007 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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advocatus - 31 August 2007 09:56 AM

Isn’t science creative?  Isn’t it like trying to peer through a window at the “wonder of the universe”?

No, but good scientists are.  Unfortunately most people with degrees in science aren’t good scientists.

It sounds like a book that I would drop by page 20.

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Posted: 02 September 2007 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Unfortunately most people with degrees in science aren’t good scientists.

Huh? How do you figure?

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Posted: 02 September 2007 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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psikeyhackr - 02 September 2007 11:08 AM

Unfortunately most people with degrees in science aren’t good scientists.

question  excaim

You mean, as opposed to the people without degrees in science?

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Posted: 02 September 2007 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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mckenzievmd - 02 September 2007 11:33 AM

Unfortunately most people with degrees in science aren’t good scientists.

Huh? How do you figure?

You don’t think the majority are hacks?  You think the ability to learn what other people figured out necessarily makes someone an original thinker?  Why did the recognition of global dimming take so long?  The comment by Beate Liepert is rather telling:

DR BEATE LIEPERT: My friends’ reaction actually to Gerry’s and to my work at the same time too was, oh my God this is really extreme, you are um contradicting global warming. Er do you know how many billions of dollars was spent on global warming research and you and this old guy er are contradicting er us.

That statement is at about 8:15 into this video:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2058273530743771382

What is the story about what happened with Carl Sagan not getting an award because of jealousy from colleagues.  I am sorry but the majority of scientists are just people that got degrees in science.  They will produce reams of trivia.

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Posted: 02 September 2007 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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You think the ability to learn what other people figured out necessarily makes someone an original thinker?

For one thing, you seem to have a misguided, romantic notion of what scientists do. Great geniuses with leaps of insight overthrowing the dominant paradigm are few and far between, and frankly many who think themselves such are just plain wrong. The heart of scientific research is the much less glamorous accretion of small bits of truth which can be stacked together to climb to the next new paradigm shift. Learning the method, and the body of knowledge necessary to begin adding to wherever the top of the mountain of knowledge currently is, is the point of a scientific education. You can call such scientists “hacks” or “plodders” if you like, but they do a lot more productive work in aggregate than the rare geniuses.

Sure, scientists suffer from all the flaws of other human beings, so they don’t always recognize or welcome good ideas or approaches when they come along, but this hardly means only the rare iconoclast is a “good” scientist. Another quote for you:

“Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer.” George Santayana.

So if new ideas are greeted skeptically, that’s all to the good. And if they turn out to be right, gthe method will lead them to dominance eventually. The mark of a well-trained scientist, however, is an open but critical mind, and if you think your quote illustrates a lack of imagination or genius, I rather think it illustrates a legitimate point to consider. The majority or consensus can certainly be wrong, but it is far more often right, and it rightly takes powerful evidence to displace it. This is not an indictment of sceintists or their training.

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Posted: 04 September 2007 03:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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if you like, but they do a lot more productive work in aggregate than the rare geniuses.

Depends on what you call work and productivity.  I will agree it is a lot.

I don’t think there are only two types of scientists.  As with most things there is a spectrum.  But as with most things the spectrum is skewed.  It doesn’t sound very egalitarian but that is just the way it is.

Economists will say they do work and claim that economics is a science.

I haven’t heard them specify how much Americans lose on depreciation of automobiles in the last 30 years.  When Americans buy new cars they get added to GDP don’t they?

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Posted: 04 September 2007 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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psikeyhackr - 04 September 2007 03:10 AM

Economists will say they do work and claim that economics is a science.

I haven’t heard them specify how much Americans lose on depreciation of automobiles in the last 30 years.  When Americans buy new cars they get added to GDP don’t they?

psik

And Popper claims it doesn’t (I must admit that I am not espcially passionate about the discusion of what discipline is a science), but anyway I don’t get your point.

Regarding your question, about GDP and new cars, the short answer is ‘yes’, the long answer is that the added value in every step of the productive process. or just the cars buyed by particulars (depending on the method used to meassure GDP). Can I ask what is the point with depreciation?.

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Posted: 04 September 2007 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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psikeyhackr - 02 September 2007 11:08 AM

It sounds like a book that I would drop by page 20.

psik

Then you would have missed the scene where the hot heroine of the novel took off her skirt and revealed that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath!  wink

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Posted: 04 September 2007 08:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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advocatus - 04 September 2007 10:09 AM
psikeyhackr - 02 September 2007 11:08 AM

It sounds like a book that I would drop by page 20.

Then you would have missed the scene where the hot heroine of the novel took off her skirt and revealed that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath!  wink

I’m going to rush right out and buy it.  ROFL

psik

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Posted: 08 September 2007 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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advocatus - 08 June 2007 10:34 AM
WITHTEETH - 04 June 2007 06:32 PM

Starship Troopers
Wow… the movie really just made fun of the book. The book is completely serious, I haven’t read to many war novels, just one other one (All Quiet On The Western Front) but this one was great. The psychology in it makes me think. At one point it talks about crime and punishment now and then. How now its a science that physical pain works over hard work. Also the notion of having to do your DUTY, and doing your DUTY makes you moral. What philosopher always talked about DUTY, was that Hegel?

Haven’t read this one, but you might also like The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (I think it’s Joe Haldeman!).

Those in this discussion forum who read both science fiction and Sam Harris might be interested in the novels by Ian M. Banks, who writes of a distant future where two cultures collide, one anchored in realism and one in religion. My favorite is Against a Dark Background where a religious cult has a need to assassinate a non-member because of some blasphemy in the the past—they think that their Messiah can’t arrive until her bloodline ends.
Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Banks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Against_a_Dark_Background

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