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Comments by seals

Go to: Cee Lo Green Changes 'Imagine' Lyrics To 'All Religions' From John Lennon's 'No Religion'

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 160 by seals

There's nothing humorous in this new lyric which is in my opinion the only thing that could have redeemed it, so yeah, it rankles. Lennon's is a well known and highly original line, (at least I can't think of any similar lyrical sentiments off the top of my head right now), and the reason why it's not acceptable is because it is so forthright. This nobody succeeded in turning what was bold and original into the usual slush. If he had used some completely different words with a meaning unrelated to Lennon's original, that would have been bad enough - maybe excusable depending on circumstances - but he chose to directly contradict the meaning of the composer, even using the word 'religion', which is the most flagrant rip off of a song for his own message. I have never heard of the guy before and hope never to hear of him again.

Tue, 03 Jan 2012 01:58:54 UTC | #904728

Go to: Were you born an atheist?

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by seals

For years I have wondered about some supposedly supernatural things and how they could possibly happen, such as 'life after death' in whatever form that could possibly take, and precognition. But supposing they do happen - and they would have to happen now as much as they were ever supposed to do - there would have to be a rational explanation. I didn't ever consider seriously any of the outright wacko religious stuff however, even under the heavy tutelage I received at one school I attended age 9-11. That had the same degree of reality as the CS Lewis fantasy of Narnia I was reading at the same time, only Narnia was far more interesting. I really longed for Narnia to be true, but never the religious side. I had had some religion lite at sunday school before that, but this heavy religion was just too ludicrous, indigestible and now strikes me as something like circus performance, ostentatious both in execution of the miracles and in the act of faith in believing such things actually happened. At that age too, belief in life after death is so unnecessary, as life seems to stretch on ahead, in effect, forever.

That said, if my attendance had started years earlier, I don't know what the outcome would have been. It was nothing more than mechanical praying at the time to avoid repercussions (although I didn't consciously think of it like that, I thought I was doing it right, but it was all superficial). I can't imagine living with the doublethink - something would have to give surely.

Sun, 25 Dec 2011 09:22:40 UTC | #902593

Go to: In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 441 by seals

Anything I write will be inadequate, but this premature extinguishing of a brilliant mind, even after all the months of knowing, is so sudden. To hear the news of his death announced on the news early yesterday morning, in what seemed a rather matter of fact kind of way, was a shock. It seemed he could have gone on longer, it was only a complication. But as fatal as the cancer itself. Another sign, as if one were needed, that it's always later than we think.

Condolences to all those bereft.

Sat, 17 Dec 2011 20:37:46 UTC | #900417

Go to: Signal for Consciousness in Brain Marked by Neural Dialogue

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 131 by seals

Hmm... FWIW. All this must have whizzed right over me, because all I can think is that surely something is missing; it's like saying the tyre is touching the tarmac, but before the wheel is invented. There's an unknown something between the inanimate individual molecules in a neural correlate, and animated experience. We're still missing the 'thing' that creates the experience of consciousness (enables the tyre to move along the road). I can't see why to say there is a neural correlate of Chalmers' view that he can't see how the reduction can happen, and therefore it's false and there is no disconnect between neural correlate and experience, is conclusive, as there could equally well be a neural correlate of thinking you can see how the reduction can happen, but in error. Predicting qualia from patterns is impressive, but it's not what is predicted, but how it's experienced, which is the puzzle. If new colours are produced in accordance with a theory, that's wonderful, but it's impossible even to begin to describe the most familiar ones to someone who has never seen colour. Or familiar tastes, smells, touches or sounds. Writing about music, it has been said, is like dancing about architecture. That's how it appears to me at least - there is still ample room for doubt.

Sun, 11 Dec 2011 17:11:40 UTC | #897871

Go to: What does "meaning" mean?

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by seals

To me, meaning is a sometimes involuntary attempt to find something ultimate and final as opposed to what just is, what's just indefinite, nebulous and unsatisfactory to our goal and purpose-seeking minds as we feel our way around in this world we find ourselves in. However if personal meanings should occur to me, different elements of a construct strike me as the definitive characteristic at different times. Eg. the meaning of a song where at first the sound is the defining characteristic which draws me in, but is later overtaken by the meaning of the lyrics or of a particular line from the lyrics; or a dream in which the events seem to refer to something from childhood, then something currently happening in real life, and later on could just as easily be referring to something else that happened sometime afterwards, and maybe eventually some distillation of all three, simultaneously. So although some meanings are blindingly obvious from the start, often meaning is something which becomes more apparent with hindsight. The meaning of life, the universe and everything being the exception to this, as there will, as far as we know, be no hindsight - but then again, maybe no ultimate meaning either.

If an ultimate meaning should be established, it's restrictive. It's never going to be profound enough, and brings shutters down on the horizon. Religion is a way of imposing restrictive meaning. I think that's why some religionists of whatever stripe say atheism is just another religion; as they have to bring it down to their level.

Sat, 03 Dec 2011 02:49:40 UTC | #895194

Go to: What about the forests ?

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 81 by seals

Just as if we don't have any financial debt, the small print of which credit card is the most efficient and the cheapest to use, doesn't matter - if there wasn't such a massive human overpopulation, it wouldn't matter so much which of city living v rural living is the more eco friendly.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 20:12:13 UTC | #893388

Go to: Neutrino experiment repeat at Cern finds same result

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by seals

Another opportunity to display my ignorance here ;) Is it possible that any neutrinos arriving "early" from a supernova would not be associated with the supernova here on earth, simply because they were not expected so early, and they were therefore not measured or recorded? If the only way of detecting a distant supernova is via the light arriving (I don't even know if this is the case), and the neutrinos arrived before that, would anyone be looking out for what would be - at that time - an apparently random burst of neutrinos? Is there is a constant background level of neutrino arrival which would suddenly peak, or are there random peaks and fluctuations at all times?

Sun, 20 Nov 2011 09:36:21 UTC | #891729

Go to: Faster than light. One step closer.

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by seals

There was an interesting little snippet on Channel 4 News about this last night, for those able to receive it.

Yeah, I know he's saying it's a tiny effect and there will be some other theory showing why time travel is forbidden, but let's not underestimate the enormity of this finding. Tall oaks from little acorns grow.

(Heh heh, a short time after I give any credence to something tentative, the real explanation usually becomes obvious ;) )

Sat, 19 Nov 2011 13:22:01 UTC | #891549

Go to: Faster-than-light neutrino experiment to be run again

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by seals

Isn't the point that some kind of particle with mass has apparently, for the time being, until the error is found, gone faster than light - whether the particle is a neutrino, whatever that is, or something else, comes a distant second place? 'Neutrino' for most people probably, is just a concept. Anyway, I certainly can't visualise one ;)

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 00:14:11 UTC | #885855

Go to: Laundry Lint Pollutes the World's Oceans

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by seals

Entirely natural fibre clothing is quite rare especially for outer clothing. Ever tried to find say, a weatherproof jacket, made entirely of natural material? Goretex isn't natural, and most are 100% polyester or polyester and nylon. Fleeces tend to be 100% polyester. Polyester and nylon are also added into so many apparently cotton garments.

I thought I was paranoid when I wondered what happens to the rubbery material that wears off trainer soles with every step and the rubber that comes off car tyres and bicycle wheels. Maybe even this could be an environmental cause for concern, when so many cars and bikes are on the roads, and so many feet are pounding the pavements?

Sun, 30 Oct 2011 18:23:56 UTC | #885467

Go to: Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 516 by seals

If you accept a supernatural entity like God exists, how can we stop at logical possibilities - how can we draw a line and say some supernatural things are possible and others impossible, when the definition of supernatural is that which is unexplainable by natural law or scientific understanding? We're dealing with the supernatural here - there can't be any limits! A God can't be subject to physical laws of the universe - God made the laws. If God didn't make the laws, if the laws were in place already for whatever reason, there would be no need for God. God would just be part of the universe, dependent upon it. If God couldn't write the laws some other way, God couldn't be God, let alone omnipotent.

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 21:57:10 UTC | #883495

Go to: Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 481 by seals

If God's omnipotence only extends to what is logically possible, doesn't that make him vulnerable to takeover by some other God who is able to do the logically impossible?

Just because we humans cannot conceive of an entity being able to accomplish logically impossible things shouldn't be any impediment to a supernatural being like a God. Surely, a God's abilities are not constrained by the limitations of human imagination. If they are so constrained, suppose some physical being in the universe were able to imagine an even more accomplished God?

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 18:00:31 UTC | #883432

Go to: Rochester Hills Country Club Cancels Richard Dawkins Appearance

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 73 by seals

Comment 59 by Matt50 :

I think one of the clearest exchanges involving Prof Dawkins I saw was with Alistair McGrath, where the relationship between rationality and the supernatural was discussed. It was on youtube - I actually think that the discussion was to be an episode of Prof Dawkin's special "Root of all Evil" but that it was not included. If so, this is strange in a series in which Prof Dawkins was trying to find out what Christians believe, by interviewing a range of people (most of whom were his intellectual inferiors) and then leave out a discussion with someone his intellectual equal.

It's hardly been hushed up if it's on youtube, and there is a dvd with the uncut 70 minute interview available on this site. I don't know about intellectual equality but McGrath is certainly a master of doublethink and obfuscation. His interview was probably not included due to excessive waffle, which included claiming to have already answered the question, when asked to explain an inconsistency on whether god intervenes. I have the impression McGrath just makes it up as he goes along and it's got to be what people want to hear.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 22:16:48 UTC | #881630

Go to: Rochester Hills Country Club Cancels Richard Dawkins Appearance

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by seals

Comment 40 by Matt50 :

... But the biggest question I ask is this. If reality is confined to only what may be actually determined by the scientific method – what is so magical about it? What is magical about a loving father who dies and is gone – absolutely gone. What is magical about relationships that are first and last about procreation and survival of genes. Why should I care for others, and what should I do if someone harms another if it doesn't affect me. What is” magical" about survival and death and oblivion?

For heaven’s sake – buy the kids The Little Mermaid and have a laugh.

You seem to be saying there is no involvement or joy in living for its own sake, no reason to be good without a god's eye in the sky watching every move and thought you have. But that god isn't necessary, and isn't there. Never was there and never will be; it's all tumbleweed. Empathy and altruism are part of our genetic makeup just as much as other less desirable traits. We're a variety of ape, one species among the many that live on this wonderful, possibly unique for all we know, planet. Our animal status will probably seem a bit of a come down from the life everlasting, but once taken on board, everything else falls into place quite naturally. For instance, there is no 'problem of evil'. And when you know things were never any different and couldn't possibly be any different, it seems so ludicrous, and such a waste of time to be living your life according to a lie. It's not that there are no regrets. But there is no alternative, and there are compensations, which is where the magic of reality comes in. Anyway, that's my take on the matter.

Sun, 16 Oct 2011 22:38:56 UTC | #881344

Go to: 'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by seals

Hmm... what brings the naysayers to this thread?

I don't think it's reasonable to expect SJ to be all things to all people. Bill Gates may well have been the greater philanthropist, (although not all charitable giving is necessarily trumpeted to the skies, and there are other charitable causes than human), but I find Microsoft products are kind of mundane compared to Apple's. No doubt they would appear wonderful if they were all that is available.

I don't know who had the original ideas but certainly for me iTunes and the iPod changed forever how I listen to music, and SJ was at least instrumental in producing these. No more being dragged back down to earth, interruptions to the train of thought, by the need to attend to clunking practicalities. In the 1990s, in my experience anyway, the best you could hope for was a cd player that could play six cds but wouldn't shuffle the tracks properly across all six. There were a great many chuntering machinery noises from inside the cd player box between each cd as the drawers moved into and out of position. There was also, at that time, a 3-cd player that might have shuffled the tracks, I don't know. The 3 cds would sit on a turntable-like platform. But even if it did shuffle individual tracks, it was incredibly cumbersome compared to having thousands and thousands of songs, days and days worth of music, available in a format in which you can find any song by artist or title within seconds, and you can carry round in a pocket and listen to at any time. I think someone else would have eventually have thought of a way of doing this, but iTunes is the reality.

Many thanks for posting this video.

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 12:39:20 UTC | #880814

Go to: [UPDATE]Heads-up to everyone - Bill O'Reilly response expected on Friday Oct 14th

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by seals

Unbelievable. As if that motormouth hadn't already hogged the airtime furthering his own agenda. And now he has to have yet another bite at the cherry, to respond again to the few words Richard managed to squeeze in edgewise. Maybe he's trying to reassure himself?

Fri, 14 Oct 2011 11:30:30 UTC | #880800

Go to: People I Love Who Invented Things I Love: Steve Jobs

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by seals

I was struck by how this news coincided with the first chills of autumn. A sad day, and another reminder of mortality. It seems very little can be done for pancreatic cancer. Everyday, there are less people older than me.

He was, I guess, a kind of beacon in the way he seemingly effortlessly rose from obscure college dropout to the head guy at Apple - a life a million miles removed from the daily grind of most of us. I think people are intrigued by his eccentricity.

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 21:46:55 UTC | #878565

Go to: Cultural blind spot

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by seals

Alcohol has its highs, but for me they were far outweighed by the disadvantages as I got older. I used to be something of a weekend binge drinker, because there is a point you reach when something just clicks, described if I recall, by a character in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a moment of calm - although you might be dancing or whatever when that happens. Relaxation is what you do to relax, it doesn't necessarily mean lying supine; it might be something energetic. But the state is all too brief before the descent to normality - worse than that, the inevitable hangover. After a couple of really bad hangovers about 15 years ago, I gave up drink altogether and I don't miss it at all. Music still sounds good and I'm not a party animal anyway. I don't enjoy 'social drinking' ie stopping just when things are getting interesting.

The worst thing about alcohol is, apparently it's possible to drink just a bit too much for years without realising the damage to internal organs until it's too late. But I guess everyone has to work it out for themselves - it wouldn't work to just ban it.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 19:07:14 UTC | #877868

Go to: Water-cooled nuclear power plants aren't the only option

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by seals

Slight snag about the helium running out. Funny how it's not that well known - it's all very alarming. But I feel there must be something missing from the story, because no one would be that stupid... right?

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 20:41:16 UTC | #877579

Go to: Live stream - starting 8 minutes ago, 4pm ET- RD and Harry Finder - The New Yorker

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by seals

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 12:11:39 UTC | #877109

Go to: Rachel Maddow Rips Anti-Abortion, Gay Marriage Bills (VIDEO)

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 93 by seals

Comment 75 by Czar :

No, your infertile couples argument fails for these reasons:

Individual arbitrary medical impediments are contingent subsidiary complications which are parenthetically incapable of determining the necessary, sine qua non, nature of marriage nor the eligibility of an individual who is sterile from marrying. For sterile couples still foster healthy relationships which are founded upon procreative type acts--such is the polemic of the traditionalist. Undeniably, these objections are, in principal, unpredicted and incidental. Moreover, specific anatomical and personal incongruities do not institute conjunctive conceptual or definitional difference. Such a declaration is, in essence, epistemically disjunctive to the ontology of marriage and, therefore, pragmatically inapplicable to the point you're trying to establish. The definition of a man is no less a definitive if he is suffering from an eye impediment. For the eye's principle rational purpose and function is that of sight; nor does the apple with a worm in it affect our conceptual or definitive understanding of what an apple is. Moreover, for you to suppose that marriage is a fundamental right begs the question. I suggest you first define what marriage is before suggesting that it is a fundamental human right implemented within the American constitution while there are distinct categorical differences between just and unjust forms of discrimination.

I notice there is a tendency to hide behind a wall of inpenetrable postmodernese, not even original as revealed here, when approaching the nitty gritty.

If gays can't marry because of inability to procreate, doesn't that mean that menopausal women should also be denied the right to marry? How about their right to remain married, if they married when fertile - shouldn't they be compulsorily divorced? This wouldn't apply to men of course who can procreate at any age. Just not with their postmenopausal wives.

Why should the right to marry be dependent on the ability to reciprocate with a benefit to the state? Doesn't that mean that anyone who is unable to benefit the state in some way should have all their rights removed?

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 12:48:48 UTC | #876917

Go to: Richard Dawkins puts his scientific 'Magic' on a tablet

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by seals

Comment 10 by Barry Pearson :

Comment 9 by seals :

I have the hardback but haven't read it yet. I'm a bit surprised there isn't a kindle version of this. Ok the ipad interactive version will be wonderful I'm sure, but not everyone owns, or wants to carry round an ipad, or for that matter a largeish book, yet may have time for the odd half hour of reading during the day. Some may just want to read the book when eating their lunch for instance which is much easier on a phone, ipod or presumably a Kindle, than an actual book.

I have a Kindle, but this is one time I didn't click the link that says "tell the publisher you want this on a Kindle" (or whatever it says).

This is simply not Kindle (current Kindle) material. The graphics are part of the message. Sometimes the text relies on the graphics for explanation, and the rest of the time for entertainment.

Perhaps Kindle Fire?

Having at last managed to read a few chapters of the book, 2, 5 and 6, I think the text is capable of being understood without the graphics, which however are indeed beautiful and not to be missed. I deliberately read chapter 5 about how days and seasons result from various types of orbits and axes of tilt as this topic often foxes me and I wish for diagrams, better diagrams, better explanations and/or some knowledge of the terminology. Hopefully anyone who started off with the kindle version, should it ever come into existence, would be incentivised to also get the book or app for the full experience. Though I realise this may be a joint venture where the text and graphics are inseparable for other reasons than reading convenience.

I'm assuming of course there are no images whatsoever in kindle books? I don't have any kindle books yet (aargh) as none of the books I felt an urge to buy, came - at least at the time I bought them - in a kindle version! I would've thought this one did!

(I noticed the statement that nothing goes faster than the speed of light... 'jury still out' on that one now?)

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 10:28:16 UTC | #876885

Go to: Richard Dawkins puts his scientific 'Magic' on a tablet

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by seals

I have the hardback but haven't read it yet. I'm a bit surprised there isn't a kindle version of this. Ok the ipad interactive version will be wonderful I'm sure, but not everyone owns, or wants to carry round an ipad, or for that matter a largeish book, yet may have time for the odd half hour of reading during the day. Some may just want to read the book when eating their lunch for instance which is much easier on a phone, ipod or presumably a Kindle, than an actual book. Quite a few books are available on kindle/ibook now but not this. The hardback is rather large and heavy and there would be definite advantage to a kindle version. It would also avoid the problem of damage in rucksacks etc.

Thu, 29 Sep 2011 20:48:48 UTC | #876433

Go to: UPDATED: Speed-of-light experiments yield baffling result at LHC

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by seals

This could be something to do with something utterly mundane, like the clock somehow running fast, or some hitherto unknown effect perhaps? Amazing how such a miniscule discrepancy can turn the world upside down. It's like science fiction come to life. Einstein would've been as excited as anyone. However, someone will find the error shortly and jolt us back to reality I expect.

Ah well, it has provided a pleasant reverie this Friday... what if it's true?

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 20:17:53 UTC | #874552

Go to: Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 283 by seals

Comment 282 by Ignorant Amos :

...

And....Comment 275 by seals

If the SEP is required reading to properly understand any SA article, maybe there should be translations provided in plain English for the rest of us. Hey, why not write them in plain English to begin with? /end of rant ;)

I, had no problem properly understanding the implication of the term as expressed in the SA article and I can assure you my level of education is well below that of the average RD.net poster. Any subsequent definition I've posted on this thread has been as a result of searching the internet for support of my assertions, SEP included. I'm assuming here that anyone picking up and reading the Scientific American would have gumption enough to understand the terms and phrases included in any piece therein. The reader should at the very least be able to clarify by use of a dictionary or the web, the definition of any items of confusion.

I think this is very important and not just a bit of petty pedantry, all to often we will go through a creationist or IDer for the same crime....a theory is only an idea or set of propositions unless the word "scientific" is prefixed and then, "its only a theory", takes on a whole new dynamic. Should we let ourselves off the hook when committing the same crime? Somewhat disingenuous and irrational in my opinion.

I was already aware that a theory in the scientific sense differs from a theory in the non-scientific, colloquial sense, as described in TGSOE, and I was aware of it before reading TGSOE but without realising the implications in education. However I had no idea that an explanation in the scientific sense is no more than an interpretation. As I already said it makes no sense to me that a theory in the scientific sense is more rigorous than a theory in the colloquial sense, whilst an explanation in the scientific sense is less rigorous than an explanation in the colloquial sense. I would've expected, if there is such a thing as a scientific definition of 'explanation' at all, the definitions the other way round with the scientific explanation more rigorous. In fact, since this has come up again, I still have doubts about the definition of this so-called 'scientific' explanation and the wording of the SA title seems plain sneaky. I don't have time to check with the SEP before reading any article here and I don't think it should be necessary. And if the definitions on Dictionary.com are in order of priority based on frequency of usage, the colloquial stronger meaning is the second whilst the more watered down 'scientific' - if it is scientific, as there is no hint or mention of that - is the third. There is also the word 'now' which is misleading. Anyway, bad title.

Mon, 19 Sep 2011 19:55:04 UTC | #872781

Go to: Muslim rules at swimming pool

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 150 by seals

Comment 141 by Helga Vierich :

... I know that this comment might cause outrage, for the very thought of "our" people being insulted, threatened, physically attacked or even killed by invaders on our own turf IS outrageous. The idea of having to cope gracefully with people whom one considers less deserving of respect or admiration than oneself, is also not pleasant for most people. ...

Er... isn't this the wrong way round? It's British/western society that has the ideal of equality for all groups in society (however imperfectly this has been achieved as yet) - it's muslims who, we are reliably informed, regard certain groups ie. women, gays, 'kuffar' as inferior. I don't regard muslims as 'less deserving of respect or admiration' (!) than ourselves; I just wish they would lose the attitude that regards women (also held by the women themselves) as inferior, gays as inferior, kuffar as inferior. If we happily tolerate homophobia, misogyny and discrimination by religion, how do we know that attitude will die out, or will it gain ground?

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 15:20:03 UTC | #872285

Go to: Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 275 by seals

Comment 272 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 271 by seals

I agree, with one caveat, the scientific explanation has to be reasoned on a suggestion grounded in science and not woo woo as in just an explanation i.e. The Holy Bible.

This recalls the divergence between the scientific and colloquial meanings of 'theory', that causes such confusion and enables such deception in the phrase 'Theory of Evolution'. Another confusing thing is, a scientific theory is so much more rigorous than an everyday colloquial theory. This would lead us to suppose a scientific explanation would also be more rigorous than an everyday explanation. However the reverse appears to be the case - the scientific 'explanation' is no more than a possible interpretation or proposition!

That being the point of having the two terms IMO, a science explanation as opposed to a science theory, the former being the ratification of the later through the process of the scientific method.

Perhaps - but once again there is already a specific word 'hypothesis' which - according to Dictionary.com - has a wider spectrum of meaning from provisional conjecture to highly probable, which would have avoided the impression of finality and subsequent impression of a false claim. It also has the bonus of sounding more scientific than the word 'explanation'! So they are using words that sound less scientific but applying special Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy scientific meanings. It's all very confusing for the average reader.

If the SEP is required reading to properly understand any SA article, maybe there should be translations provided in plain English for the rest of us. Hey, why not write them in plain English to begin with? /end of rant ;)

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 14:54:51 UTC | #872275

Go to: Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 271 by seals

From Dictionary.com

ex·pla·na·tion   [ek-spluh-ney-shuhn]
noun

  1. the act or process of explaining.

  2. something that explains;  a statement made to clarify something and make it understandable; exposition: an explanation of a poem.

  3. a meaning or interpretation: to find an explanation for a mystery.

  4. a mutual declaration of the meaning of words spoken, actions, motives, etc., with a view to adjusting a misunderstanding or reconciling differences: After a long and emotional explanation they were friends again.

If a scientific explanation is now apparently nothing more than an interpretation, that's ok I guess, as long as everyone is aware of the scientific definition and how it differs from from the ordinary everyday definition. The everyday definition I have always understood to be, after the obligatory number 1, definition number 2 from Dictionary.com: something that explains;  a statement made to clarify something and make it understandable; exposition: an explanation of a poem.

(ie. not a proof obviously, but along those lines)

However the scientific explanation appears to be more like the watered down version, definition number 3 from Dictionary.com: a meaning or interpretation: to find an explanation for a mystery.

(maybe even implying, not necessarily the true explanation?)

This recalls the divergence between the scientific and colloquial meanings of 'theory', that causes such confusion and enables such deception in the phrase 'Theory of Evolution'. Another confusing thing is, a scientific theory is so much more rigorous than an everyday colloquial theory. This would lead us to suppose a scientific explanation would also be more rigorous than an everyday explanation. However the reverse appears to be the case - the scientific 'explanation' is no more than a possible interpretation or proposition!

Anyway, at least we now know to take the phrase 'scientific explanation' with a lorryload of salt. So next time the 'scientific explanation' for something is revealed with a great fanfare, just let's not assume a mystery has actually been solved. IMHO it's still sharp practice though!

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 09:32:59 UTC | #872204

Go to: Muslim rules at swimming pool

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 134 by seals

Comment 132 by danconquer :

Comment 119 by Atheist Mike :

The 'default' culture is British...

Ah, yes, The Integration Game! We hereby present the official RDF guide of how to Fit Snugly Into The Great British Way Of LIfe. So, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! CALLING ALL MUSLIM WOMEN!...

On friday and saturday nights it is your PATRIOTIC DUTY to assemble en masse in your local town centre where you will find an array of generously stocked drinking establishments. Skirts shold be no longer than 2mm below panty line. Drink early. And drink often. And don't stop until you can't stand up anymore. To demonstrate full integration with the natives, you should ideally pick a fight with a taxi driver when he refuses to drive you home for free, before proceeding to the nearest kebab shop, McDonalds or similarly indigenous food outlet and abusing the staff. The food should be retained in your stomach for a period not exceeding 20 minutes, before finding a suitable shop doorway into which you may deposit the semi-digested meal. If shopkeeper complains, a friendly "Whah the fack you lookin' at, I'll smash your fackin face in" should defuse the situation.

Some of you Muslims may have been incorrectly informed that speaking English is a good way to demonstrate integration. However the most cursory glance of the linguistic habits of British people around the world proves that nothing could be further from the truth! The TRUE BRITISH WAY when it comes to language is to STICK STUBBORNLY TO YOUR OWN MOTHER TONGUE wherever you are in the world. Therefore when ordering your spam and chips (washed down with a pint of lager, at 10am, naturally) you should do so in Arabic or Urdu. If the waiter struggles to understand you, just speak LOUDLY and s-l-o-w-l-y because, as every Brit knows, this will magically enable them to understand your language.

Haha, but unlike the muslim dress code, none of this culture of drink till you drop, dress like a trollop, lager lout/drunken hooligan caricature stuff is compulsory. It is tolerated at most, I don't hear anyone actually approving it. There must be a few non-alcohol drinkers, however this doesn't make the headlines as it isn't a problem. Same with the language thing; if I was to go and live abroad (something I have no intention of doing) I hope I would learn at least some of the language beforehand. I have avoided some holiday destinations where English isn't widely spoken as I don't speak a word of any other language. The idea that it's ok to go somewhere and just shout at people strikes me as quite dated.

If Britain is at fault for languishing in its own culture and way of life as it has evolved from various influences over the centuries, it is surely no worse than any other nation, as all nations have their own culture. Why should Britain be the only nation to be criticised for not voluntarily surrendering its own culture, however imperfectly incorporating the ideal of equality, for the whim of a minority group, a group with a different set of values? No other western nation is rushing to embrace medieval values either.

Sat, 17 Sep 2011 13:22:51 UTC | #871904

Go to: Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations

seals's Avatar Jump to comment 256 by seals

Hmm... why wasn't the title 'New scientific hypotheses for the occurrence of NDEs'?

Sat, 17 Sep 2011 13:18:23 UTC | #871901