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Comments by ShadowMind

Go to: Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by ShadowMind

In the vein of "purposes of scientific endeavours", my favourite example is the laser. When it was first developed in th 1960s, there were no practical applications at all for a nice coherent red dot of light.
How could those scientists have foreseen:
Optical data storage
Eye surgery
Measuring the distance to the moon
Metal machining
Inertial confinement fusion
Hair removal
and many more besides...

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 00:21:23 UTC | #950300

Go to: South Korea surrenders to creationist demands

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 70 by ShadowMind

It seems I opened a can of worms with my (admittedly, over-the-top) comment. Ah well, that's what healthy debate is all about.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 00:09:46 UTC | #946959

Go to: Mathematics: stupid and clever questions for people who understand

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 58 by ShadowMind

Maths is pretty much entirely abstract, in that 1+1=2 because we define 1, 2, + and = to be so.
Counting obviously exists in the real world (addition too, I guess), but beyond that, maths is what we make it.
Maybe you're just thinking too much about it, trying to find a problem that isn't actually there? You seem to be heading towards "Is reality real, or do we collectively imagine everything?"

Mon, 11 Jun 2012 22:53:25 UTC | #946949

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by ShadowMind

What about this? Learning a foreign language = good, but
"There will be less of a focus on doing experiments" = not so good. Observation is but a part of science. Hands-on stuff is far better for learning. I forget the percentages, but you retain far more of what you do, than what you see.

Mon, 11 Jun 2012 21:51:45 UTC | #946939

Go to: Unsung Heroes, Obscure Scientists

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by ShadowMind

Eratosthenes, a Greek scientist/mathematician/everything who measured the circumference of the Earth to within 2%. In 200BC.
Fibonacci (Leonardo Pisano), an Italian mathematician, who was instrumental in introducing Arabic numerals into Europe in 1202AD, opening the door to scientific and mathematical advances unimaginable with the Roman numerals up until then.
Eric Laithwaite, a British engineer who developed the linear induction motor and MAGLEV in the 1960s; and who had many controversial ideas about both gyroscopes and moths.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 21:30:11 UTC | #945765

Go to: South Korea surrenders to creationist demands

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by ShadowMind

Oh dear. How do you say "facepalm" in Korean?
Religion and the Great Step Backwards.
Hospitals should start denying creationists medical help; pretty much all modern medicine comes from a good understanding of evolution.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 21:15:46 UTC | #945761

Go to: Defying Depth

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by ShadowMind

I would tend to agree with Angelos333; I suspect that the shrimp, living in the shallows but able to survive at depth, is a recent (evolutionarily speaking) migrant from the deep to the shallows.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 00:18:49 UTC | #945614

Go to: Just Say Yes…To Sexist Stereotyping?

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by ShadowMind

Some of these religious 'preachers' of abstinence are getting pretty much Islamic in their outlook:
"Men are uncontrollable, so women must be shrouded and hidden away".
And the more forbidden you make something, the more people (teenagers in particular) are going to want to try it.
The "Screw Abstinence" t-shirt is meant to be ironic:
Screw = euphemism for having sex
Abstinence = not having sex.

Fri, 18 May 2012 00:06:26 UTC | #942112

Go to: Mathematics: stupid and clever questions for people who understand

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by ShadowMind

Topical coincidence: this was on io9 today.

Tue, 15 May 2012 00:49:53 UTC | #941503

Go to: Mathematics: stupid and clever questions for people who understand

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by ShadowMind

Dividing by zero could also be taken as lim(x->0) of 1/x, which would imply that the result is infinite, but then you get into questions about which infinite (think about the graph of y=1/x). But that's one of the good things about science - some solutions just result in more questions!

Mon, 07 May 2012 21:20:04 UTC | #940419

Go to: "It is written"

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by ShadowMind

I see "it is written" as holding import because of the permanence and ability to go back again to refer to the written words, whereas spoken words can be mis-heard or forgotten.
As far as the religious connotations, it's that 'permanence', the inability to change, that it the problem.
Religion gives Rigid Answers
Science asks Flexible Questions

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 01:08:43 UTC | #936869

Go to: In defence of obscure words

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by ShadowMind

Re: Comment 4 by Cartomancer
That was
A: Insane, but
B: Brilliant (funny how those two are often found together...)
It took much of my lunch break to google all those obscure words. I'm still not sure of your use of "alembic", however.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 00:23:02 UTC | #936858

Go to: Romney to give commencement speech at Falwell’s Liberty University

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by ShadowMind

Because he doesn't want his audience to be too much smarter than he is, and the local kindergartens were all booked up...

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 03:54:50 UTC | #935942

Go to: Can the Reason Rally resonate in this most religious of democracies?

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by ShadowMind

Comment 28 by aroundtown
Bloody is a complicated one...

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 03:40:05 UTC | #931106

Go to: Assuming we are not offended is inaccurate

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 67 by ShadowMind

Comment 4 by Daniel Clear

I am an atheist extremist. there are litterally billions of people i don't want to kill

That, sir, is brilliant! (In spite of the typos...)

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 02:57:29 UTC | #931101

Go to: The spectre of militant secularism

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by ShadowMind

Regarding the various comments on banning parents from teaching their children this or that, my position has always been:

Education before Legislation

People need to be informed as to why a thing should be done (or not done), otherwise it's just religions favourite, the voice of authority without reason. This holds for indoctrination, population growth, road rules, drug use, and many other things besides.

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 21:48:18 UTC | #928749

Go to: How to Make Eyeball Stew - Editor’s choice in developmental biology

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by ShadowMind

I'm waiting (hoping) for some-one to figure out how to use stem cells to grow a new eye lens (ready for implanting). That will be one of the most difficult challenges, but most useful results, in stem cell experimentation (IMHO). But this self-assembly trick is very impressive.

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 01:09:33 UTC | #927673

Go to: Christians have no right to wear cross at work, says Government

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 230 by ShadowMind

It seems many people (including the women concerned and the government) are getting confused with the real issue at hand.

Here's the way I see it (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong anywhere...):
1: Women sign their contracts, including the 'no necklaces' clause.
2: Women wear necklaces anyway (which happen to include a cross).
3: Women are pulled up by employer for wearing necklaces.
4: Women think they should be allowed to wear their necklaces, assuming religious exemption.
5: Women think that the problem is with the cross, rather than the necklace, and get all offended.
6: It all goes to court and media and explodes into a much bigger mess than it really deserves.

Perhaps if the employers had explained that the pronblem was the necklace, not the thing that happened to be dangling from it, this wouldn't have even been news-worthy. But (as usual) religion gets in the way.
Basically, this is an employment contracts issue, not anything to do with banning religious symbolism. The religious side of it has been created by those with little better to do than stir up hornets nests.

Slightly OT; the extension of the banning religious symbols etc: I don't have a problem if some-one chooses to wear a burka or a turban or some other silly religiously-inspired clothing, so long as they remove it when required, such as for passport and license photos, cuustoms and security checks, police stops, health-and-safety reasons, etc.

Also, Comment 122 by Cartomancer: well said!

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 03:20:02 UTC | #926831

Go to: Westboro Baptist Church to attend Reason Rally with special message for atheists

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by ShadowMind

The invitation could actually work.
Invite the WBC, then ignore them. Completely. Talk to all attending media people beforehand, and convince as many as possible to totally ignore the existence of the WBC group. They crave attention, so expecting to get it, then being denied, will knock them down a peg or 2.

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 00:07:05 UTC | #926571

Go to: Countless millions of taxpayers’ money spent on discrimination in schools

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by ShadowMind

just play the game and say you are willing to fit in

I think it's not so much a case of can't, but shouldn't have to.

Fri, 09 Mar 2012 03:31:13 UTC | #925533

Go to: 'Space Chronicles': Why Exploring Space Still Matters

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by ShadowMind

...a consortium of European countries take this on?

They are.
There's also all the moon shots.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 20:20:20 UTC | #923232

Go to: Why we need college degrees more than we need faith

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by ShadowMind

Where does the USA find these anti-education imbeciles?
And how on earth do they get into positions of power?

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 22:14:55 UTC | #922919

Go to: So Britain's a Christian Nation?

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 108 by ShadowMind

philthenaturalist: " Well, that would explain the mess we're in!"

This is the best one (IMHO) so far.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:47:27 UTC | #918531

Go to: Britain being overtaken by 'militant secularists', says Baroness Warsi

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by ShadowMind

You cannot extract Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can erase the spires from our landscape,” she will say in her speech

No one's talking about changing the past, just the present and the future. Yes, the nation's more recent history is (largely) christian. But things change.
And erasing spires is easy - a good earthquake or two will do it quite nicely.

Change is the only constant in the universe

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 00:12:15 UTC | #917398

Go to: But you cannot shut us up

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by ShadowMind

You can complain about us
But you cannot shut us up

Would make a brilliant atheist billboard!

Mon, 13 Feb 2012 04:12:14 UTC | #917082

Go to: Pope 'exorcised two men in the Vatican', claims new book

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by ShadowMind

I love the concept of the Popemobile:
"Believe in god, but trust in bullet-proof polycarbonate windows"
As for exorcisms, is this the "Devil of the Gaps"? - I don't understand my illness (because I haven't bothered to go to an actual doctor) so it must be demonic possession!

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 19:43:40 UTC | #915976

Go to: Improbable evolution: how life beats the odds

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by ShadowMind

organisms seem to be able to produce "random" mutations when they need them

I see it more that the random mutations are always happening, but you only see the result of the mutation (beneficial adaptation) when it 'works'. At other times, the mutated forms simply die out.
To continue the lottery example, a persons life doesn't change unless they win. Failed tickets just result in "business as usual".

Tue, 07 Feb 2012 20:01:04 UTC | #915366

Go to: Religious freedom under threat from courts, professor warns

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by ShadowMind

As far as I can tell, this actually has nothing to do with the fact that it's a cross, but that it's a necklace. The detail of the necklace is irrelevant, as her contract effectively gives her 3 choices:
1: Don't wear a necklace.
2: Keep it completely hidden under her clothes.
3: Find another job.
But of course, she's trying the "I'm a christian, give me privilege!" cry. Hopefully the justice system will see sense and laugh her out of court.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 20:00:28 UTC | #911823

Go to: Muslim extremists storm Irshad's book launch in Amsterdam

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 138 by ShadowMind

Islam may provide the impetus, but in the end, it is a person that carrries out these acts. I don't know if it's a lack of education, a lack of common sense, or a lack of respect (for themself and others) that causes a person to do something like this.
I mean, if I read a book that says, for example, "all redheads are evil and must be shot", I'm not going to go out killing redheads, because I'm not that stupid.
There is something wrong, internally, with these idiots, that allows them to think like this, and I think it's deeper than simply religion (not that I'm supporting religion in any way, shape or form - I will celebrate long and hard the day all religion is consigned to the history books).

The very concept of a god is irrelevant

Wed, 25 Jan 2012 21:42:42 UTC | #911488

Go to: Education is the only antidote to religion: Richard Dawkins

ShadowMind's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by ShadowMind

Children (and adults...) need to be taught to think, to question everything; but also that the answer they come up with may be wrong, and that some-one else might come up with a better answer. And that's OK.
For example, concerning gravity: Aristotle was wrong, Newton had a good answer, but Einstein had a better (more precise) answer. The important thing is that being wrong allows us to learn new things (learn from your mistakes...), something religion hasn't quite figured out, because gods (or rather, gods' messengers) are Always Right.
On another note, something I just thought of: If religoons want to get rid of atheism, tell them that there will be no atheists when there is no religion (because if no-one knows/cares about the idea of god, the term "atheist" becomes meaningless).

Wed, 25 Jan 2012 20:10:03 UTC | #911447