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Comments by billzfantazy

Go to: Job Description

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by billzfantazy

I just applied for the job, stating that I was an atheist, so wouldn't take part in the prayer meetings. I recommend anybody from the UK also applies for the job, stating the same as me, hopefully overloading their inbox & giving them a bit of grief :-)

Mon, 23 Jan 2012 00:33:50 UTC | #910816

Go to: Rethinking "Out of Africa"

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by billzfantazy

You know what, that's the clearest exposition I've ever heard of recent human evolution. If mr Stringer was better looking he could be another Professor Cox.

Sun, 22 Jan 2012 23:53:33 UTC | #910802

Go to: How the Brain Spots Faces

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by billzfantazy

What a coincidence. I just commented on another thread about facial recognition (it was comment number 202 so chances are it'll never be read) now I see a post on that very subject! If I didn't understand about confirmation bias I'd be totally spooked. Errr nothing constructive to add to this :-)

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 01:01:28 UTC | #907552

Go to: Race re-debunked

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 202 by billzfantazy

Let's replace race with "face" we may not be be able to differentiate between races (if they exist) but we have evolved to differentiate between faces, we even see faces on mars! How different are these faces? well we would probably say very different, we can distinguish millions of different faces at a glance. Skin colour, eye colour, size of nose, shape of mouth, slant of eye.... so many variations! Also, it is clear some variations are more common in particular locations. Wider noses in africa, darker skin in Sri Lanka, Bluer eyes in Scandinavia. At first glance this appears to suggest a large genetic separation between different regions of the Earth. However what if I was to say there is a greater difference between the facial features of chimpanzees in a much smaller geographic area? Yet these chimpanzees are considered to be of the same race! Perhaps our perception of "facial" difference is merely our keenly evolved facial recognition system, fine tuned for humans, leading us astray?

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 00:48:29 UTC | #907549

Go to: Wolf-to-dog transition had little to do with humans, ancient skull suggests

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by billzfantazy

The domestic dog is an example of "ther survival of the cutest" ( yes comment no 8, that's relevant) we probably did eat the odd wolf that we managed to catch, but the ones who came closest to our camp fires to eat our scraps evolved to be cute. The ones we didn't like, we killed; the cute ones we kept as pets. Voila!

Wed, 21 Dec 2011 23:36:32 UTC | #901822

Go to: Chinese Atheists Lured to Find Jesus at U.S. Christian Schools

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by billzfantazy

Comment 9 by ridelo

If I think well, Chinese authorities do not endorse scepticism and critical thinking. So, a religious education suits them well, I suppose

I recommend "Wild swans" by Jung Chang. A very critical & sceptical thinker, brought up under the cult of Mao, who nevertheless saw through the hypocrisy of the party line. Mao was the chinese god in a way, to criticise him was tantamount to blasphemy and yet some brave people did, risking torture and alienation of their whole family. Atheists in the west have it easy in comparison!

Wed, 21 Dec 2011 23:15:10 UTC | #901813

Go to: Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by billzfantazy

I hate to be the contrarian here, but come on guys! C. Hitchens was an apologist for various wars, a supporter of the worst leaders in both the UK & US & a poseur... he said stuff for effect, not because he believed it. Flame me if you will but I speak the truth.

I admired him for his outspoken atheism, despised him for his betrayal of the causes he previously espoused.

Mon, 19 Dec 2011 00:12:27 UTC | #900807

Go to: When the magic of reality collides with the magic of childhood

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by billzfantazy

You've totally fucking made that up mate. Well done for getting a reaction, but I've got kids, they don't talk like that.

Sun, 11 Dec 2011 01:14:43 UTC | #897689

Go to: Riot rumours: how misinformation spread on Twitter during a time of crisis

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by billzfantazy

For hundreds of years it's been normal for working class men to work till exhaustion for 60 hours a week, for only just enough pay to cover their families' living expenses. Hardly ever did they riot (despite all the flashy carriages or wigs or tophats that they walked past on the way to work)

I think you'll find riots have been pretty common in the 19th century and earlier. From Evil may day in 1517 through various riots in Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh and London, various Luddite riots, Tonypandy and perhaps most poignantly, Peterloo

Thu, 08 Dec 2011 20:21:24 UTC | #896854

Go to: Riot rumours: how misinformation spread on Twitter during a time of crisis

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by billzfantazy

@Danconquer: Precisely.

However if you were to believe the bile poured out in the pages of the daily Mail (other loo paper substitutes may be available) it was all down to greed

Greed? FFS, greed is what fuels the banksters who got us into this mess, its the raison d'etre for too many expense fiddling politicians and their hangers on, its why so many with so much feel the need to keep their stash in an offshore tax haven so they don't need to contribute in any way to the society which made them rich.

Meanwhile the ordinary guy living in a hovel next to a mansion is vilified in the press as a lazy scrounger. No wonder people riot.

Thu, 08 Dec 2011 18:23:40 UTC | #896831

Go to: Islam, Charles Darwin and the denial of science

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 58 by billzfantazy

Much as I deplore islamic anti-science fundamentalism, I think if this story had been about christians being offended about being taught evolution, the Telegraph wouldn't have printed the story, or at least put a different slant on it (christian beliefs disrespected by politically correct profs?) Just saying.

Thu, 08 Dec 2011 17:52:00 UTC | #896821

Go to: Nigerian senate passes anti-gay bill, defying British aid threat

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by billzfantazy

Anybody who thinks the British government gives aid out of the goodness of their hearts needs to enter the real world. Aid is given in return for trade with British companies. in many cases that aid ends up in some dictators back pocket. Lets have a vote on whether Cameron stops aid to Nigeria over this issue... I say he wont.

Sun, 04 Dec 2011 15:38:51 UTC | #895570

Go to: Neutrino experiment repeat at Cern finds same result

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by billzfantazy

@mmurray Thanks for the link, I had a look & she does mention shortcuts through extra dimensions, although I think my explanation was better :-)

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 23:42:11 UTC | #892145

Go to: Neutrino experiment repeat at Cern finds same result

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by billzfantazy

link text#51 mmurray damn!!! & I thought I was being original (not to say a bit wacky)

Anyway who is this guy Randall? does he have a partner called Hopkirk? (dead I believe)

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 23:05:57 UTC | #892139

Go to: Neutrino experiment repeat at Cern finds same result

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 44 by billzfantazy

Crackpot theory warning......

It has been observed that as Neutrinos travel they spontaneously switch between 3 different "types" vis Electron/Tau/Muon. This is strange behaviour, after all we don't see Photons turning into Gravitons willy nilly or Protons suddenly becoming neutrons. What is the mechanism for these transformations? What if the three types were just different faces of the same particle effected by a rotation in a 4th spatial dimension? then it is concievable that each time the neutrino flips its type it makes a short excursion into an extra dimension and in this way takes a shortcut in space.

Anomoly explained! I await my nobel prize with bated breath.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 15:13:02 UTC | #892012

Go to: Faster than light. One step closer.

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by billzfantazy

Explaining extra dimensions without using Maths:

If the ultimate speed limit was the speed of sound, then the fastest you could get from London to New York would be (whatever time that is) However if you could tunnel under the Earth you could get there in (faster time) Hence, by using extra dimensions one can appear to break the speed limit. Q.E.D

Sat, 19 Nov 2011 15:03:10 UTC | #891569

Go to: The Science of Sarcasm? Yeah, Right

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by billzfantazy

Well that was really profound and sooo interesting.

Actually I liked it!

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 21:44:40 UTC | #891171

Go to: Biology, Faith, and Skepticism

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by billzfantazy

Life pops up all over the place on Earth, in the most unlikely places. I see no reason why it wont " pop up all over the place" on other planets, even ones we wouldn't expect ( in our parochial way) to support life.

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 23:47:24 UTC | #890586

Go to: What are you agnostic about?

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by billzfantazy

@ Nunbeliever

Probability IS a mathematical construct. However I note in an earlier post you were talking about odds of 50:40, so I guess Maths isn't your strong suit.

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 17:26:28 UTC | #890455

Go to: Europe to map the human epigenome

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by billzfantazy

After reading a bit more on the subject, it seems to me that epigenetics provides a means for existing genes to be more fit, that is it allows our genome to be more flexible, switching some genes on or off for a few generations to account for short term environmental factors.

This mechanism, it seems to me, has no bearing on the existing paradigm of evolution by genetic mixing/mutation required for natural selection, except that apparently useless genes are nevertheless selected for in evolution, because they may have utility in extremus.

My conclusion is that epigenetics adds another layer to the existing theory of evolution and is not a threat to that theory but that nevertheless it is an important adjunct to that theory and will reward further study.

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 10:28:20 UTC | #877099

Go to: Europe to map the human epigenome

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by billzfantazy

Point taken Kriton, the article I linked to and the comment from RD were critical of the hype about epigenetics with regard to it's role in evolution rather than in the context you have explained.

There does seem to be a lot of articles about research into epigenetics' role in evolution just now however, do you think its all hype? or is there more to it?

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 18:44:42 UTC | #876988

Go to: Europe to map the human epigenome

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by billzfantazy

I read this recently, which was critical of the hype about epigenetics and included a comment by the Dawk himself! (cultural ref: the IT crowd for dyslexics) So does RD think the EU is wasting its money? I'd be interested to know.

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 10:44:53 UTC | #876889

Go to: Puncturing the Myth

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by billzfantazy

I don't know about acupuncture, but without Qi scrabble would be much less fun.

Sat, 17 Sep 2011 12:58:18 UTC | #871898

Go to: Why the laws of physics make anthropogenic climate change undeniable

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by billzfantazy

I have some sympathy for Rolan here. Is it necessary to be abusive just because someone doesn't agree with you? It's not as if he's saying AGW is some socialist conspiracy or anything, he makes a few arguable points which should be refuted in a rational manner.

This isn't the first time I've noticed intolerance to other peoples opinions on this site recently, fair enough berating some redneck creationist but flaming someone for stating their opinion is a bit crass IMO.

Oh and I disagree with what Rolan says, but as the quote goes, I defend his right to say it.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 09:41:51 UTC | #865813

Go to: Vaccine safety/effectiveness in humans and dogs

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by billzfantazy

@Sample; let me just reiterate I am NOT anti vaccination. My point was that we don't need to put even more money into big pharmas pocket by vaccinating against every single disease. Hope that's clear now.

You said:

One billion vaccinated individuals afford more than just one vulnerable person's protection.

Yes I know, but I was responding to this:

Correct me if I misunderstand your words, but you seem to draw your line here: protecting even a single vulnerable person is not persuasive enough for you to support a generally safe vaccination protocol

Maybe I've misunderstood, but to be honest I don't think there is much between our opinions except a better definition of what a serious disease is. With that in mind I think I'll move on!

Sun, 08 May 2011 15:32:25 UTC | #624566

Go to: Vaccine safety/effectiveness in humans and dogs

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by billzfantazy

@Sample: What is a generally safe vaccination protocol? one in a million adverse side effects per dose? that would be the safest vaccine ever and yet if we vaccinate a billion people in the west to give herd immunity then 1,000 people suffer those reactions perhaps 1% dying, so 10 people are sacrificed to save the lives of your one vulnerable person. Yes I draw the line there.

Sun, 08 May 2011 08:40:10 UTC | #624446

Go to: Entropy, complexity, and a science-based solution to the free will problem

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by billzfantazy

Free will is the concious decision to take a particular path within the network(?) of all possible (pre-determined) futures

Ok even I laughed at that, but then I haven't taken any mind altering substances today.

Sat, 07 May 2011 20:14:33 UTC | #624294

Go to: Our inner fishes

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by billzfantazy

The philtrum eh? that's yet another name for a part of the body I hadn't known before... did you know the name for the bit behind your knee is the popliteus?

Sat, 07 May 2011 19:56:22 UTC | #624289

Go to: Vaccine safety/effectiveness in humans and dogs

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by billzfantazy

OK I've checked out some facts about measles and changed my mind... seems the mortality rate is quite high.

I wasn't disputing the effectiveness of vaccination and if you read my original comment a bit more carefully you'll see I was only arguing against vaccination for less lethal diseases, I think Josh in particular seems to think I'm some nutjob anti-vaccine truther, which I most certainly am not!

My comments about big pharma stand however, they are not to be be confused with hospitals (well I'm thinking NHS here) which have little interest in making a profit, in fact their whole raison d'etre is to get drugs on the market and make money from them. There are many documented cases (see Ben Goldacre) of drugs being released onto the market when the companies producing these drugs knew about side effects which they covered up. Or else they knew their particular drug was less effective than one already on the market.

Oh and I do understand herd immunity, but where do we draw the line? are we going to vaccinate everyone against all 50 or so strains of the common cold (assuming we had those vaccinations) in case one person on chemotherapy is exposed to the virus and dies?

I was going to give a few links and add some stuff about thalidomide but this is an old thread and I don't suppose anybody's reading it anymore so I'm probably having a rant in an empty room :-)

Sat, 07 May 2011 19:39:55 UTC | #624285

Go to: Vaccine safety/effectiveness in humans and dogs

billzfantazy's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by billzfantazy

Oops, looks like I hit a nerve there! I didn't think suggesting people shouldn't necessarily be vaccinated against seasonal flu would be controversial (well they aren't at the moment are they?) the only other exception I made was measles, which most people my age have had and which isn't vaccinated against in many countries (guess I should now check up on measles mortality rates but I'm sure you guys will let me know)

The "Big Pharma" stuff is a different subject and a distraction

Hmm, well who else makes money out of unnecessary vaccinations?

Sat, 07 May 2011 18:33:14 UTC | #624259