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Comments by Axulus

Go to: Why smart people are stupid

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Axulus

Comment 7 by All About Meme :

Lily Pads, anyone?

(248)A = L ; A = initial area of lily pads; L = Area of lake (2n)A = L/2 ; n = number of days Substituting:

(2n)A = (248)A/2 (2n+1)A = (248)A 2n+1 = 248 n+1 = 48

n = 47

(Cheesy grin... my exponents suck, though)

How did you go from 2n+1 = 248 to n+1 = 48?

If n = 47, then 2n+1 = 95, not 248.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 07:45:25 UTC | #947343

Go to: Open letter and video re threat to GM Research

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 67 by Axulus

Comment 19 by rationalmind :

There is one argument in that video that sounds more typical of the sort of thing you would have heard from Cardinal Pell, during his debate with Richard Dawkins. "We believe that you are in the minority." Well so what? This is really really irrational argument and it really does undermine my credibility in the whole organisation that they let such poor thinking be put out in a public statment like this.

This is a well known logical fallacy called "argument from numbers". It is really annoying to hear scientists making an argument like this. There is a very very simple refutation and if someone doesn't realise this, it undermines my confidence in their ability to think rationally. It seems to me that it is symptomatic of a lack of a degree of critical thinking skills, especially when you would hope the statement as a whole would have been checked.

The simple refutation is this. You cannot argue that something is right or wrong because of the number of people who believe it. It is the evidence that needs to be considered not the number who believe. At one time everyone thought the earth was flat. They were all wrong. If you want another example the consider this one. Atheists are in the minority in America. Does this mean they are wrong?

This is really a very basic error.

(Incidentally, I am aware that even in medieval times people did know the world was round. There were however,times before knowledge and literacy was widespread when the notion of the earth being flat would have seemed correct to most people. The Bible for example contains numerous examples where ideas are expressed from a flat earth perspective.)

The error appears to be all yours. If you actually went to the website that the video is responding to, they are essentially claiming that they are implementing the will of the people by destroying the research:

"Anyone who feels compelled to take this step with us will be in good company. Across the channel farmers, families, and local mayors have taken part in similar daytime decontaminations, and as a result France is currently in the process of banning its only commercially grown GM variety. In Belgium last year a mass public decontamination removed the GM potato trial in question, and is likely to have been instrumental in biotech giant BASF deciding to pull out of Europe"

http://taketheflourback.org/why-a-decontamination/

By claiming that "we believe you are in the minority", they are in fact arguing that the destruction is not some sort of fulfillment of the "will of the people".

Fri, 04 May 2012 06:19:13 UTC | #939561

Go to: Pell, Dawkins wage battle of belief

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 102 by Axulus

Hitchens had a way of making these type of people feeling as if they should be very embarrassed for their drivel. He would also get feisty with a crowed for cheering some bad point made by the other side. He seemed to get more fired up and have the best comebacks in these situations. Dawkins, on the other hand, gets a bit too exasperated by the sheer ignorance on display and unfortunately he doesn't seen to have a clear and succinct response to it. I don't blame him for getting this way, but it harms his debate performance. Dawkins should either decline invitations in debating those who are full of sheer ignorance, or have a better, shorter, less nuanced response when it is on display.

Mon, 16 Apr 2012 07:09:58 UTC | #935005

Go to: Bioethicist Richard Dawkins: Morality, Society Can Be "Intelligently Designed"

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Axulus

Comment 20 by hemidemisemigod :

"Dawkins...was philosophical and spoke with a droll English accent fitting of his former professorship at Oxford University."

Did what now? I don't think that word means what you think it means.

The word seems fine to me. Remember, this was a Pacific Northwest audience.

Top result on Google:

Adjective:
Curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement: "his unique brand of droll self-mockery". Synonyms:
funny - comical - comic - amusing - humorous - laughable

Fri, 06 Apr 2012 03:30:06 UTC | #932680

Go to: "The nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin"

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 298 by Axulus

Just finished watching the archived video. I have to say that it didn't seem like much of a debate. It seemed like 50% of the conversation was just clarifying and specifying what both Richard and Dr. Williams believe to be true about the world, which they both agreed with and, quite frankly, was not in any way controversial. Another 25% was the AoC speaking as a "murky", saying nice sounding mumbo jumbo that is hard to pin down in clear and cogent language. Another 15% of the debate was the professor in the middle (sorry, too lazy to look up what his name was as I forgot it) interrupting and speaking in philosophical mumbo jumbo. Yes, I'm sure what he had to say was philosophically interesting, but the audience listening to the debate (including myself) are not trained philosophers. FFS, even Richard was a bit confused on what exactly the guy was saying and the relevance of what he was saying. If you can't speak to an intelligent audience in clear and unambiguous terms, what good are you in the discussion? The final 10% of the debate was wwhere the AoC and Richard genuinely disagreed upon, and the only portion of the conversation that could be considered a "debate". However, it was cut short by the professor in the middle interjecting during the most interesting parts! What the hell? When we finally reached a point where Richard had a real disagreement with the AoC's theology on the point of looking to Genesis for insights to modern day questions, he was cut short by the professor in the middle!

While many intelligent things were said throughout the debate/conversation, I can't say I really felt like I learned any new insights. There were several moments of frustration I felt and it seemed like Richard was feeling as well. To me, it seemed like pretty basic arguments, largely due to the fact that neither side really had a chance to go deep on any one topic. When Richard attempted to go deep on any particular subject, he was rudely interrupted and either cut short or not given a response.

Finally, was I the only one bobbing my head in boredom at the concluding speech by the guy behind the podium? Yes, I definitely appreciate all the various individuals who played a part in making this conversation/debate a reality and laughed a little at the joke, but does it really take 5 minutes to talk about how great/important the debate/conversation was? I guess I'm just so used to the idea that it is so much more satisfying and sincere when one conveys meaning/apperciation/humor/wit as succiently as possible, and not ramble on so much longer than necessary (there's no better individual that exemplifies this that I can think of than Christopher Hitchens).

While overall it was enjoyable to watch, I seems that way too much was left unsaid and the conversation was not nearly as deep as it could have been had the conversation been allowed to progress more naturally. It left me feeling unsatisfied, which I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 05:53:00 UTC | #921711

Go to: Christopher Hitchens (Vanity Fair, Feb 2012)

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Axulus

Here is the clip which I think Salman is referring to regarding CH and Mos Def:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ew9CngVeFA

At about 5:30 in, in a discussion about Bin Laden, Mos Def says that there are lots of crimes leveled against people that they didn't do. CH asks Mos Def if he has watched a Bin Laden video. Mos Def then says he doesn't speak Arabic and that he doesn't trust the media (presumably with the translation). CH suggests that he watch a video with an Arabic speaking friend. It is at this point that he begins referring to him again as "Mr. Definitely".

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 23:23:44 UTC | #906085

Go to: Top 10 books of 2011

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Axulus

The list appears to be limited to physics books. I suppose Richard's book would probably qualify, but perhaps it wasn't chosen because it is more broad than just physics or perhaps because it is targeted toward children?

Thu, 15 Dec 2011 19:26:44 UTC | #899280

Go to: Charles Darwin the economist

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Axulus

The last paragraph is a non sequitur and a strawman.

"It's an important point, since the modern conservative's case for minimal government rests on the presumption that competition always promotes society's welfare."

False: the argument is that it most often promotes society's welfare.

"But our best understanding of how competition actually functions, as Darwin's work makes clear, supports no such presumption."

What is an example of ruinous competition akin to the bull elk that results in society worse off? Is he talking about things such as firms minimizing costs by passing them on to third parties, such as in the form of pollution? Every economist acknowledges this, even staunch conservative or libertarian economists.

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 08:18:46 UTC | #884470

Go to: Richard Dawkins, acclaimed author and member of Royal Society, shunned by country club in Michigan town

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Axulus

Whether or not the country club violated federal law, they certainly violated the terms of the contract. CFI, the book publisher and/or RDFRS will be entitled to damages that result from the breaking of the contract.

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 23:38:08 UTC | #880033

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 330 by Axulus

I sure hope they add rigorous economics courses to this college. Based on the comments in this thread, such education is sorely lacking in the general populace.

Tue, 07 Jun 2011 07:32:58 UTC | #635191

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 152 by Axulus

Just so I understand where people are coming from, setting up and participating in any college that is not approved for funding by the state is a disgrace?

Even if a college is set up primarily for the wealthy, why do we prefer the wealthy to spend their money on a larger yacht as opposed to better education for their children?

The number of colleges in existence isn't fixed. If the wealthy pay for the education for their own children, there will be more money available to fund the education for everyone else.

Mon, 06 Jun 2011 05:37:41 UTC | #634566

Go to: Cynicism by the Book

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by Axulus

Slightly off topic, but related to the article:

Thunderf00t burns 40,000 Qur'ans

Leave it to Thunderf00t to state my position on the matter with his amazing clarity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeAr01hzG30

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 05:53:30 UTC | #613854

Go to: Do we have the right to burn the Koran?

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 265 by Axulus

Just out of curiosity, are the Danish cartoonists fuckwits and a big embarrassment to Denmark?

Also, is pzmyers a fuckwit and an embarrassment to the U.S. for his desecration of the Eucharist, or was pzmyers' action fine in your view because Catholics didn't go on a murdering rampage?

Comment 30 by Stevehill :

The deaths were not the first to be blamed on the actions of Mr Jones and his church. Four men guarding the Christian community in Baghdad were killed last year following warnings by authorities that they were at greater risk because of the book-burning threats.

"Pastor Terry Jones is directly responsible for the murder of some of our people," the Baghdad-based Canon Andrew White told The Independent last month. "He [Jones] can try and say from the safety of Florida he was trying to make an important point. But it was an important point that killed our people."

Fuckwit "Pastor" Jones does not get a free pass on this, whatever divine right he confers upon himself to grant himself absolution.

I'm against fuckwittery in all its many manifestations.

Anyone defending Jones' "right" to behave like an ignorant, uneducated spoiled brat with total disregard for the consequences is not.

The world would be a better place if he was not allowed to act like this - if only on public order grounds.

He's as big an embarrassment to the USA as the Taliban is to Afghanistan. There's absolutely nothing to choose between them.

Sun, 03 Apr 2011 03:38:25 UTC | #611111

Go to: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 76 by Axulus

As someone mentioned, it is the quality, not quantity, that matters. We need a better ranking, such as number of papers that have been cited at least X times or more. X could be any reasonable number.

Tue, 29 Mar 2011 08:58:15 UTC | #608622

Go to: Catholic church suspends 21 priests suspected of child abuse

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Axulus

Comment 22 by jbyrd :

Comment 21 by Axulus :

Comment 8 by Hendrix is my gOD :

The names of the priests were not being released, a spokesman for the archdiocese said.

Their names were released yesterday at Ash Wednesday mass. Today their names and photographs were published by the Philadelphia Daily News online. I suggest that everyone post this link on their Facebook page or any blog that you frequent. They are criminals and everyone should know their names and faces

To be fair, they are still innocent until proven guilty. As much as I despise child abusers, those accused of such treachery still deserve a fair trail. Once convicted, then we have the right to plaster their faces everywhere and call them criminals.

I would never trust those accused to be in the presence of any child, but neither do I think it is right to call them a criminal until convicted.

But treating them like a criminal is fine?

What do you mean "treating them like a criminal is fine"?

People don't tell me you would trust an accused child rapist to be alone with a child. If this is "treating them like a criminal", then absolutely it is fine, it is the prudent thing to do.

Sat, 12 Mar 2011 02:56:07 UTC | #601815

Go to: Catholic church suspends 21 priests suspected of child abuse

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Axulus

Comment 8 by Hendrix is my gOD :

The names of the priests were not being released, a spokesman for the archdiocese said.

Their names were released yesterday at Ash Wednesday mass. Today their names and photographs were published by the Philadelphia Daily News online. I suggest that everyone post this link on their Facebook page or any blog that you frequent. They are criminals and everyone should know their names and faces

To be fair, they are still innocent until proven guilty. As much as I despise child abusers, those accused of such treachery still deserve a fair trail. Once convicted, then we have the right to plaster their faces everywhere and call them criminals.

I would never trust those accused to be in the presence of any child, but neither do I think it is right to call them a criminal until convicted.

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 06:03:50 UTC | #601229

Go to: Bullying

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Axulus

While I tend to agree with those who say kids should be told to fight back and stand up for themselves (when I finally did so to one bully, the bullying pretty much came to an end after that), I do worry about the extreme scenarios where the bully tries to get revenge with a knife or some other sort of trap where there is a severe injury.

Perhaps this is just the risk of putting bullies in their place? Fear is what they thrive off of in the first place.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 04:57:37 UTC | #597548

Go to: Wanted: Students or Parents Who Rejected D.C. Vouchers

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Axulus

If they wanted future workers, then they would want quality education. The unemployment rate for those who lack a highschool degree is much greater compared to college graduates. 15% unemployment vs. 5% unemployment at present.

Comment 17 by isisdron :

I laugh when I see this stuff. The US government couldnt give two shits about educating it's children. They just want future workers, not people that are actually learned and can take the hierarchy down. That's not what the elites spend all their money buying government officials for. As for the Obama veto, dont count on it. Even Democrat pres are purchased with corporate and bank funds. It was Reagan that sold God and capitalism to the US, and everyone knows, that whatever economic system God wants, the slaves must abide by it.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 21:35:47 UTC | #591338

Go to: Wanted: Students or Parents Who Rejected D.C. Vouchers

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Axulus

Comment 12 by sanban : The harm that is done by vouchers is in depriving the public schools of money and of the less tangible assets of involved and capable parents.

That is kind of the point. Less resources go to where parents don't want to send their children, more resources go to where parents do want to send their children. The public schools will need to step up their game if they want to attact students. Additionally, with those kind of resources available ($11,000 per student), I can easily imagine a large variety of private secular schools opening up to provide quality educations without the religious B.S.

It also sets an interesting precedent: that tax dollars are to be spent the way that individual taxpayers choose, even if their choice is harmful to the rest of society.

Yes, we need a bunch of bureaucrats deciding what's best for society. All those stupid parents just want to harm their kids. We must treat parents like children because we simply can't trust them to make good decisions for their children.

What's next? Do we give vouchers to people who choose to go to work in a helicopter rather than use public transport or roads? How about giving drivers their share of public transport subsidy monies i vouchers? Will police departments be deprived of funding by a policy of giving vouchers to people who choose to employ private security? Oh, I have an even better idea! Let's give shariah courts a portion of the budgets for the judicial system! Then we'll have "judicial choice."

What in the world are you going on about here? I really don't understand the point. Those who want vouchers for primary and secondary education are simply asking for a similar system we already have at the University level - the money gets attached to the student to the college they decide to attend. By most measures, the Universities in the U.S., as a group, are at or near the top in the developed world. The public schools, on the other hand, are near the bottom in the developed world.

Also, where is the outrage in students who attend religious private colleges getting federal grants and subsidized federal loans and other forms of financial aid?

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 18:17:49 UTC | #591294

Go to: Wanted: Students or Parents Who Rejected D.C. Vouchers

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Axulus

We also have to ask ourselves, is it worth forcing children into dropout factories that are secular, or is it worse if we allow parents to choose the schools that their children attend, which happen to have a much higher graduation percentage but may also be religious. The reason we don't see very many secular private schools is because they've never been given a chance to flourish. Religious private schools, subsidized with a dual agenda of education and indoctrination, can afford low tuition. But if we actually attached the $11,000 on average we spend per student to whatever school they attend, we'd see quality secular schools flourish. However, scene we never fully support the idea, we never see secular schools take hold. What a tragedy that is. Instead we are stuck with Washington D.C. schools being stuck with less than 20% proficiency in math and science by the 8th grade despite all the money spent per student because we are horrified by the simple idea of school choice because gasp some of the parents might choose catholic schools. What I say to that: secular schools: step up your game, and quick, damn it!

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 07:43:43 UTC | #591185

Go to: Wanted: Students or Parents Who Rejected D.C. Vouchers

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Axulus

What we need to do is create a voucher system modeled after Sweden.

Wouldn't it be absurd if you could only shop at your "zoned" supermarket, even if it had terrible food, and the only way to get access to a new supermarket was to move into a completely different neighborhood?

We need school choice.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 03:51:24 UTC | #591142

Go to: Computer addict Korean mother murders toddler son

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 78 by Axulus

Another thing to keep in mind that, in a competitive marketplace, game designers have a huge incentive to create the most addicting games possible. The fierce competition means that those games that are only mildly amusing may not earn enough money to pay for development costs as gamers purchase the better, more addicting games. As more and more brain and psychology researched is performed, along with which past games were successful and which ones flopped, the knowledge of what makes a game more addicting and enjoyable will get incorporated into future game design. Expect more of this kind of thing in the future.

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 02:54:11 UTC | #567719

Go to: Despite evolution debate, LA to get new H.S. biology books

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Axulus

While the textbook battle may have been won, this doesn't mean that there aren't numerous teachers in LA who will not teach the subject so as not create "controversy".

What are our colleges doing in this regard in preparing science/biology teachers to teach evolution? Since there is this false controversy created around it, I would think this should be a specific focus for those who want to teach biology on refuting the tactics used by creationists and how to teach a sound foundation of evolution.

Wed, 08 Dec 2010 01:40:03 UTC | #560052

Go to: The Terrifying Brilliance of Islam

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Axulus

Comment 24 by gru :

Comment 22 by -TheCodeCrack- I supose you didn't understand my point. A dedication of millions of muslims to kill americans should have a steady and terrifying outcame. It would be like malaria killing people and not like outbursts of ebola. 9/11 was like an outburst of ebola... not something so constant like the death rate of malaria. In 9/11 you see just a bunch of dedicated muslims wanting to kill americans. Now imagine millions like them?

It was hyperbole, not a factual statement. I seriously doubt it was meant to be taken literally.

Updated: Fri, 25 Jun 2010 22:40:23 UTC | #483669

Go to: The Terrifying Brilliance of Islam

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Axulus

For those who are bashing the article, it is obviously written with a certain bias. However, the article contains what appears to me to be a very interesting analysis of several things contained within the doctrine of Islam that makes it so successful as a religion. It is a very provocative article. Do we only accept research articles that are written by university professors with proper footnotes? This article is a good conversation starter in that it brings up several interesting ideas that likely warrant further research.

Fri, 25 Jun 2010 21:00:24 UTC | #483624

Go to: Todd Stiefel Joins RDFRS as Trustee

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Axulus

Mitch,

He spoke at the 2009 AA convention. See his speech here:

http://www.atheistnexus.org/page/nate-phelps-2009-aa-speech

Nate,

How is the book coming along?

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 02:14:00 UTC | #443002

Go to: Bowling for Atheists: Haiti Proves that Nonbelievers Care Too

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Axulus

I think a lot of people who are whining about this don't really understand that not everyone is motivated by a pure sense of altruism. Some people are motivated by friendly competition with the religious, some people are motivated by self promotion.

If you choose to donate for self promotion purposes, so what? The _benefit_ to the Haitians has now increased, and that's all that really matters.

We must face reality, and the reality is that we are all to a large degree self interested individuals. To deny this is to fail to take this knowledge and use it to the best interests of mankind. Your wishing it wasn't so isn't going to make it so.

In this case it is clearly working, a quarter million plus speaks for itself! It's not like we are taking advantage of people in a desperate situation, unlike what many religious will do by starting to proselytize as they hand out aid.

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 06:06:00 UTC | #433288

Go to: Climate Change editorial

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 246 by Axulus

@ Steve:

But the number of lives that could be saved would surely be much higher if the money was used to save lives third world countries, no? Additionally, I'm sure that some services that result in an improvement of the lives of the citizens, but does not result in any lives being saved (such as public transportation), could instead be used to save the lives of those living in abject poverty in third world countries? This is humans placing much more value on the comfort and quality of their own lives vs. the lives of those in third world countries.

I would argue that there is nothing immoral about this if our actions and decisions are not responsible for the lives lost in said third world countries.

Also, I believe keddaw was suggesting that it would be acceptable _if and only if_ the alternative was worse in the minds of the people who are being asked bear the costs. However, I don't believe he was fully taking into account our responsibility for the harm that is probably going to be the result of AGW.

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 02:03:00 UTC | #421650

Go to: Climate Change editorial

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 244 by Axulus

214. Comment #439986 by Steve Zara:

"People aren't just numbers, just millions of pawns in some great chess game."

It would be nice to think so, but the actual decisions we make proves otherwise. We do place a quantifiable value on lives, and and this quantifiable value is higher, sometimes much higher, for some lives over others. This is the demonstrable reality of the situation.

I think the most obvious example of this are government provided social services. Money taxed and then used to improve the lives of our own citizens, where life is not in danger and few, if none, lives would be lost without certain said services, could instead be used to directly save tens to hundreds of thousands of lives in third world countries from preventable deaths.

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 01:25:00 UTC | #421638

Go to: Climate Change editorial

Axulus's Avatar Jump to comment 243 by Axulus

241. Comment #440096 by keddaw:

I'm not necessarily saying that we are obligated to save everyone, just that a cost/benefit analysis that does not take into account our own responsiblity in the harm that results to third parties would be a flawed analysis if we are analyzing what we morally ought to do about AGW.

However, I would also argue that any such cost/benefit analysis would be necessarily biased and it seems to be that such an analysis would be so complex as to be unscientific. How in the world are we to have any confidence in our predictions on what would happen if average global temperature were to increase by 4 degrees? While we may have a reasonable idea of some costs (increase in sea levels), it seems that there would inherently be too many unknowns to have any confidence in the analysis. There would be too many costs/benefits that are simply unpredictable or overlooked.

I do have a question for those who believe we should take strong action to slow down or potentially reverse AGW. Please consider the following hypothetical: If it was the case that the globe was warming not a result of our actions but as a result of natural processes, the result of which would be the same as the current AGW, do we have an obligation to do things to the global climate via our technology to stop the natural global temperature increase to mitigate the harm? If not, why not? Is our responsibility the necessary factor needed for us to incur the costs to remedy the situation?

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 01:09:00 UTC | #421635