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Comments by legal9ball

Go to: The Hunting of the Higgs: what is it and why does it matter?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by legal9ball

But wait. James Woodward says the Higgs is NOT the origin of mass.

"We now know that at cosmic scale space is flat, so critical cosmic matter density obtains. That means that phi [the total scalar gravitational potential] equals c2. So, in Einstein's second law c2 can be replaced by phi, and now m * phi = E. It takes no genius to read this to say that E is the total gravitational potential energy -- and that the origin of E in SRT is due to the gravitational interaction. Since m arises from E (irrespective of whether E is due to zero or non-zero restmass stuff), the origin of mass is the gravitational interaction [not the Higgs process].

The Higgs is irrelevant to the Mach considerations. The Higgs is NOT the origin of mass-energy (as Wilczek has repeatedly pointed out). It is a process that confers RESTMASS on otherwise zero restmass particles. Those zero restmass particles, via m = E/c2, have mass if they have energy. The origin of mass is the question of the origin of mass-energy. Mach's principle does have something to say about that."

Tue, 13 Dec 2011 12:36:29 UTC | #898571

Go to: Whitehouse Response to "One Nation Under God" Petition

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by legal9ball

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.

I would have liked him to put those in order of prevalence. We are a nation of Christians and non-believers, Jews and Muslims, and Hindus. Also, it would have been fun not to exclude Wiccans, Satanists, and Vodunists.

Sun, 30 Oct 2011 12:15:12 UTC | #885374

Go to: Story of a Bible Belt atheist from Kentucky

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by legal9ball

There's a scene in the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, (not recommending it) where a chimp with human level intelligence is captured and placed in a zoo-like institution filled with unenhanced chimps. The unenhanced chimps shriek and jabber unintelligibly and aggressively at the newcomer. I was curious to know, and now I can ask. What's that like? Does it fill one with gratitude and compassion?

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 11:50:09 UTC | #885186

Go to: Tired of arguing with friends and family

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by legal9ball


My advice is to get a new girlfriend, asap.


Mon, 24 Oct 2011 18:59:27 UTC | #883760

Go to: Ignorance is bliss?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by legal9ball

Comment 39 by blitz442 :

Muddling through life with a rather pedestrian IQ that grants just enough wit for interest in difficult subjects and the wider problems of the world, but not enough for complete mastery of these subjects or the production of meaningful solutions, would seem to offer a lot of opportunity for frustration that borders on depression. Not speaking from experience, of course.

I see no necessary connection between not having what one wants, in this case a higher IQ, and being depressed.

Nor is it necessary to be depressed if, with your higher IQ, you see that the world is not the way you want it to be.

In my experience, depression, except for organic reasons, is a facet of a belief that one is to blame for not having what one wants.

If we're to be consistent with our skepticism of libertarian free will, we can't blame ourselves for not having what we want.


Thu, 11 Aug 2011 17:09:37 UTC | #860122

Go to: Ignorance is bliss?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by legal9ball

How smart do you have to be to know that you're stupid?

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:48:23 UTC | #859816

Go to: Happy, wise, or virtuous?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by legal9ball

Comment 13 by KenChimp :

I do not concur with the view that no one "knowingly" does bad.

Bad has no meaning except in relation to a purpose. Bad for what?

For the purpose of an agent thriving as best he can calculate, that agent can't knowingly do bad. He has no motive to.

This isn't license to run amok. Agents are practically responsible for the consequences of their choices, just not morally responsible.

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 14:55:51 UTC | #847684

Go to: Happy, wise, or virtuous?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by legal9ball

If it's true that our natures require us to chose as best we can by our own lights in any given moment, then we are all as virtuous as we can possibly be in each given moment. The knowledge that this is irrevocably true about oneself feels like happiness.

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 10:56:17 UTC | #847612

Go to: Christian/Atheist baptism - raising children in a mixed household

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by legal9ball

Christians believe in hell and in the inherent corruption of human nature.

This child will be led to believe by his mother that he is in danger of going to hell because of his defective nature and the only way to save himself is to obey the invisible man.

I think dad is neglecting his duty to protect his son from abuse.

Wed, 22 Jun 2011 13:31:42 UTC | #641677

Go to: Johann Hari interviews PZ Myers

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by legal9ball

Found it. Peachy Pie, Laura Hocking.

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 18:59:32 UTC | #640911

Go to: Johann Hari interviews PZ Myers

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by legal9ball

What is that very sweet tune preceding the interview?

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 18:46:19 UTC | #640908

Go to: W.L. Craig claims L. Krauss thinks child rape "may be morally acceptable".

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by legal9ball

Comment 3 by Andrew B. :

Wouldn't it be easier for Craig to come to the conclusion that child rape is morally acceptable? All God has to do is claim it to be just that and it would become so. For Krauss to claim it to be, our understanding of the psychological trauma that occurs when children are assaulted in this manner would have to change (new evidence would have to come to light suggesting that rape is generally harmless), as would our understanding of their ability to fully comprehend the implications of intercourse in order to competently give consent.

According to the Quran, god does think its ok to have sex with premenstrual girls.

And it's not simply a harmless academic question.

This evil persists today because people believe, as Craig does, that morality equals what the invisible mad in the sky says is moral.

Sat, 28 May 2011 19:54:26 UTC | #631836

Go to: Is Christian morality psychopathic?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 68 by legal9ball

To me, the essential psychopathy of Christian morality is that it is, as Sam points out, command based. If god tells you to do it, then it is moral for that reason alone, no matter what he commands you to do, even if he commands you to murder your own child.

That's why the theistic response to Islamic atrocities is impotent, as Sam also points out. The theist must concede to the maniac that he is correct in one key aspect of his calculations. There is an invisible man who must be obeyed. Once that point is conceded, all is lost.

Wed, 25 May 2011 09:20:58 UTC | #630655

Go to: Existential anxiety

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by legal9ball

I assume existential anxiety is the fear of not having an afterlife. But didn't Epicurus solve this paradox once and for all by pointing out that you aren't going to be there to experience it? These people are so incorrigibly unable to imagine not having an afterlife, that they unconsciously imagine they will persist past death into that awful state of nothingness.

Their fear is the fault of those who instilled in them a belief in an afterlife in the first place. They should be grateful to you, not angry, for pointing them to a possibility of losing their fear of death.


PS, I still await my prize for winning the pool matches at Jackie's and my confidence has never wavered that it will, one day, arrive.

Tue, 17 May 2011 15:26:27 UTC | #627511

Go to: Can you share your struggle with religious family members?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by legal9ball

You're still clinging to a more insidious superstition, your belief in uncaused free will. They are no more responsible for the way they are than you are responsible for the way you are.

Just enjoy the ride. And, by the way, congratulations on your great good fortune to have escaped the delusions that enthrall your family.

Wed, 11 May 2011 10:00:40 UTC | #625743

Go to: Critical thinking

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by legal9ball

For a thoroughgoing treatment on how to improve your rationality with the benefit of the recent discoveries in the field of cognitive science visit Better yet, read the Sequences on that site and start a Less Wrong meet up group.

Mon, 09 May 2011 18:26:01 UTC | #625010

Go to: Please sign this anti-creationist petition

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by legal9ball

Is it useful for non UK residents to sign?

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 15:28:09 UTC | #620668

Go to: 'One of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen'

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by legal9ball

The appearance of this article made me wonder if Amis knows some bad news.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 10:51:27 UTC | #618765

Go to: Yes, we do have free will, and here's why

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by legal9ball

I'm with you, YXair. What's more, in my experience, this view has very significant psychological implications.

Our choices are determined such that, at the moment of making any choice, we are powerless to choose anything other than that which we most want to choose as determined by values we most want to hold. All that's lost by the absence of free will is the ability to betray oneself.

Who could or would desire the freedom to betray oneself? The self-righteous, that's who.

"I have defeated my evil nature by virtue of my free will, and you haven't."

However, for those moments when I can fully admit to my powerlessness to betray myself, I can see that self-recrimination for any reason is pointless. Compared to the peace in that state of awareness, self-righteousness looks like chump change.


Sat, 16 Apr 2011 11:41:29 UTC | #616089

Go to: Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by legal9ball

Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead. Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed. Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead. She's gone where the goblins go, Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out. Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low. Let them know The Wicked Witch is dead!


Tue, 22 Mar 2011 11:08:18 UTC | #605785

Go to: The blurred reality of humanity

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by legal9ball

Jullian points out that the illusion of self is not nothing. We do indeed have a self - an illusory self. But I like Sam Harris' point better. The illusion of self is itself an illusion. When you actually pay close attention to your subjective experience of yourself, like Hume, you can only discern the experience, and never the one who experiences. We do have a self, which is an illusion of an illusion of a self.

Zoltan Torey points out in "The Crucible of Consciousness" that we experience ourselves as uncaused because until all of the neurological events that in fact do cause our consciousness to "turn on" have occurred, there is no inner self to be aware of such preliminary events. It seems to us like we pop out of nowhere.

Maybe this is why we're such suckers for the supernatural. If we can exist as uncaused causal agents, why can't god?


Tue, 22 Mar 2011 10:53:40 UTC | #605781

Go to: Book Tickets to Non-Believers Giving Aid Fundraising Event

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by legal9ball

I'll also be there. I live just near by in Washington, DC. I'm very much looking forward to it.

David, looks like we're neighbors. I hope to see you there.

Jack Maginnis

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:00:17 UTC | #604167

Go to: Dawkins and Grayling: can there be evidence for god?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by legal9ball

The idea that something is supernatural and also exists is self-contradictory.

What evidence would it take to satisfy me that what is by definition false is in fact true?

All one can say is that any answer other than "evidence can't do that" reveals susceptibility to delusion.

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 17:23:46 UTC | #602597

Go to: Why Are Atheists So Angry?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by legal9ball

Personally, I try to avoid becoming angry. It's bad for your health. In doing so, I have found that my desire for justice isn't in the least diminished by the absence of anger.

Is there any injustice in David's remarks? I think so. I think he's dishonest. He poses as open minded.

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:12:28 UTC | #601363

Go to: Can we talk about Muslim homophobia now?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by legal9ball

So what's the solution?

I think the only viable option is to deny any further immigration to any muslim and to immediately deport any muslin convicted of a religiously motivated crime back to his native culture.

Fri, 25 Feb 2011 16:36:50 UTC | #596074

Go to: The assumption that altruism is desirable

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by legal9ball

Read "Good and Real" by Dreschler for an excellent rationale for the golden rule.

As a bonus, you'll find a fascinating account of how an undetected belief in an immaterial mind may explain why the wave collapse was postulated in the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 19:45:17 UTC | #595632

Go to: How can atheists give condolences about someone's death?

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by legal9ball

8 years ago, while I was still catholic, my 20 year old son died suddenly of an aneurysm. I got condolences from my faith community of the usual sort. Those condolences by and large boiled down to an assurance that it was, all in all, a good thing that my son died.

I'm glad, looking back, that my natural love and loyalty to my son helped me recognize that message as repugnant.

My greatest condolence has been, and remains, joyful gratitude for the time I had with that wonderful young man.

Fri, 14 Jan 2011 22:24:36 UTC | #578556

Go to: Punjab Governor Salman Taseer assassinated in Islamabad

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 68 by legal9ball

I wonder if this is bad for the business of muslim bodyguards. Who would hire a muslim bodyguard if the bodyguard might kill his employer because he thinks allah wants him dead? And won't other bodyguards, seeing the glory given to this animal, be inspired to do the same?

If you're a moderate muslim, better get a swiss bodyguard.

Comment 29 by glenister_m :

Mental note to self: If the need ever arises, choose your own bodyguards rather than having them appointed.

I'm curious what the public's final reaction to this will be:

A) Martyrdom for victim/Counter-productive - "His own guard murdered him for what? We need to get rid of that blasphemy law!"


B) Martyrdom for guard - "He did his moral duty, and all charges against him should be dropped."

Much as I would hope for A, I fear it will probably be B...

Wed, 05 Jan 2011 09:17:06 UTC | #573595

Go to: A shameful Thought for the Day

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by legal9ball

As a former catholic, I look back on how I raised my children in this despicable doctrine and wish I had the chance to do it over again so as to spare them this lesson in holy self loathing. I do what I can now for my now adult children by way of example and whatever guidance they may request. But, their very love, devotion and trust for me as my children is my undoing in this task. They took the lesson so very deep to heart.

If only I could give them each their own apostasy for Christmas, I would. Lovingly wrapped and joyfully presented.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:58:47 UTC | #568443

Go to: Father Morris: It's Not Healthy to Have an Imaginary Friend

legal9ball's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by legal9ball

Fr. John - the laughing inquisitor.

This guy is the most obnoxious personality on the planet.

Tue, 21 Dec 2010 18:37:12 UTC | #566868