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paulmarkj's Avatar Joined over 4 years ago
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Latest Discussions Started by paulmarkj

A lot of science is just plain wrong - last commented 27 April 2012 05:46 PM

Stupid Design - last commented 01 July 2011 12:42 PM

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Latest Comments by paulmarkj

Go to: Rhode Island cross controversy - legitimate or petty?

paulmarkj's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by paulmarkj

Comment 2 by LaurieB :

This is not petty and small minded.

But it isn't what you or I think, it is what the the world thinks. We have to look at the big picture.

The majority of people are not particularly interested in the battle between atheists and Christians, they have other things in their minds. When they come across stories lie this, they will think atheists are being petty and small minded and that's not good for the cause.

Sure, atheists might win a few minor battles, but lose potential supporters in theprocess.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 12:47:46 UTC | #937959

Go to: A lot of science is just plain wrong

paulmarkj's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by paulmarkj

Comment 1 by AtheistEgbert :

This article is very worrying. How does a non-scientist like myself tell what is 'good' and 'what is 'bad'? If I can't rely on the journals to help me decide, how will I know?

You use your own 'reason' to judge for yourself.

A lot of science is very complicated and frankly too difficult for most people. But we are all voters and all have a say in how the country is run, so our opinions on global warming do matter but have to be informed properly.

At a different level, the New Scientist article pointed out that companies had complained that they had invested money based on scientific studies, but the studies turned out to have major errors in them. Now, you could say that the companies should have carried out their own studies, but what is the point of having expert studies if we can't rely on them?

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 17:10:14 UTC | #933384

Go to: New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests

paulmarkj's Avatar Jump to comment 44 by paulmarkj

I imagine they are trying to avoid a debacle like this.


I was given a similar thing when studying physics at university. The professor said (when describing an electricity concept) "Image you have 8 n*****s pushing 8 wheel barrows. The N word certainly should have been on his banned list!

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 13:40:09 UTC | #932345

Go to: The "So" meme

paulmarkj's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by paulmarkj

Someone said to me last week that I have the habit of saying "Right" before I talk to my class (I am a teacher). I said that this is done on purpose: "right" gets the attention, then they listen to what I have to say.

It ahs been said that "Hello" can have the same purpose - a very short auditory cue but it also gets us tuned i. It take a fraction of a second for humans to tune into another's voice.

We must remember that the oral language is different to the written language: it has more practical considerations. Hence umm, so and err which are cues to the listener that the speaker has not finished. Necessary in verbal language.

In any case, "so" has been around since at least 1985: I and a colleague used to joke about the use pele made of it. We used to start all our greetings with "so" until the "so" became the important part: we ended up greeting each other with a single word: "so".

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 10:42:13 UTC | #924272

Go to: Science and cinema

paulmarkj's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by paulmarkj

Let's break this down:

Stories are about things that 'go wrong' or in a more formal scheme of the 8 point story arc: trigger, quest, surprise critical choice.

The technology or science is the thing that goes wrong that needs to be addressed, and the scientist is either a minor character helping with the plot or a major character, where they are normally present more fully and more rounded.

When they are minor character, they act as a device rather than a true character. They are often there to provide the main character with technology or explain the technology. As such they are stock characters, a device used as far back as Shakespeare. Films and plays cannot develop and expand on all characters, so sometimes they use stock characters as a shorthand. In this way scientists can be bumbling or evil or forgetful or harmless or nerdy.

Fully formed characters are not alway presented as evil: when I googled and gt the top ten mad scientists it listed Dr. Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll, Andre Delambre (from The Fly), Dr. Moreau, Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Frank N. Furter, ‘Doc’ Emmett Brown, Dr. Evil.

All these characters play a part and are often battling their own science (the thing that goes wrong). It is no different to any other film where people play a part. How often is a catholic priest portrayed as a paedophile or womaniser? Young black people = hoodies = criminal and so on.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 11:00:12 UTC | #919544

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