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Maybe Steve Ballmer Doesn't Deserve the Hate

Tony Re:If the man were as dumb as /. thinks... (240 comments)

What do you mean? Corporate America isn't generally run by the best and the brightest. But in spite of that, considering that Microsoft was once so dominant there was no second place, I think Microsoft is imploding. It certainly hasn't done anything terribly innovative in a long time, and all it's done lately is to hand over the mobile market to Apple and Android, and manage to piss off the one set of insanely loyal customers it has left -- XBox fans.

So, yeah. I think the man is about as dumb as /. thinks he is.

about a year and a half ago
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Too Many Smart People Chasing Too Many Dumb Ideas?

Tony Loaded words and misfired analysis (376 comments)

His entire rant is a string of strawmen, ad hominems, non sequiturs, and question-begging. The problems he mentioned are all either social or political in nature. Otherwise, he's piling a lot of abuse and loaded words on people doing what they want to do: write programs.

The weird thing is, he identified the sources of the problems right in his rant. Single mothers living at or below the poverty line? The jobs they have don't pay well, are inflexible, and provide no relief for raising kids while trying to earn a living. Veterans waiting 8 months for medical attention? A processing system that is out-of-date and understaffed, and a health care system that has been gutted of funding.

What bright ideas are young software entrepreneurs are going to solve this? The software exist to make the VA more efficient, and it's not like you can just write a new piece of software and expect the government to make use of it (just like you can't do that for a big company).

These Big Problems don't have a software solution. He certainly didn't provide any ideas on how software might solve these Big Problems -- he just insisted on judging the career decisions of a group of people based on his preferences.

Fuck. That.

about a year and a half ago
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How Did You Learn How To Program?

Tony Apple ][ (623 comments)

An old 16k Apple ][ in 1979, in a logging camp in Southeast Alaska. First integer BASIC, then Applesoft BASIC, then assembly via the Sweet16 mini-assembler. Then Pascal. Then I graduated and went to college and learned how to program.

And I wrote my "One Time, at computer camp...." a long time ago.

about a year and a half ago
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Code.org Documentary Serving Multiple Agendas?

Tony Re:Good luck being a programmer (226 comments)

I don't know about that. Everyone on /. seems to be a fuckin' critic, yet critics still have jobs.

about a year and a half ago
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Texas School Board Searching For Alternatives To Evolutionary Theory

Tony Re:I agree with Barbara Cargill (763 comments)

Exactly. Epigenetics means the offspring inherits the factory as well as the blueprints. (Okay, DNA isn't really a blueprint per se, but it's not nearly as pithy to say "as well as the DNA templates which create RNA templates which are used to construct specific proteins.")

about 2 years ago
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Texas School Board Searching For Alternatives To Evolutionary Theory

Tony Re:Well ... (763 comments)

Fortunately, science works by correlating the predictions of hypotheses with observed reality. Also fortunately, the theory of evolution via natural selection doesn't predict evolving an intelligent life-form in a lab. It predicts many, many things that correlate strongly with observed reality, but that is not one of them.

If I'd said something as monumentally ignorant as your post, I'd be red in the face too.

about 2 years ago
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Judge Demands Email and Facebook Passwords From Women In Sexual Harassment Case

Tony Re:Not quite the same thing being compared here (218 comments)

Nice slut-shaming.

It doesn't matter if the plaintiff enjoys sex, or is flirty with some people, or anything else. If she was sexually harassed at work, she has a case. Her dress, her sexual conduct outside the office, and her general attitudes make no difference to the question of sexual harassment.

about 2 years ago
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Nate Silver's Numbers Indicate Probable Obama Win, World Agrees

Tony It IS geek news (881 comments)

Nate Silver's use of statistics is geeky. Really. That's about all he talks about -- not politics, but statistics. (Well, and sports, but even there, he's all about the statistics.)

more than 2 years ago
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Nate Silver's Numbers Indicate Probable Obama Win, World Agrees

Tony 97.7% (881 comments)

Bwah? 97.7%? I'm only seeing an 86.3% chance.

Or is the "Chance of winning" sidebar item incorrect?

more than 2 years ago
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Pakistan's PM Demands International Blasphemy Laws From UN

Tony Religions are generally false (957 comments)

The parent said "religions are always false". There was no need for me to hash through the possible definitions that may lend it credence, it was only necessary for me to provide a single definition which proved it inaccurate. That is why I chose that definition.

Ah, yes. Argument by dictionary. That's an excellent strategy: it allows you to avoid the substance of an argument by focusing instead on specific word-use.

Let's try this instead: no religion has been shown to be true. In fact, no religion has demonstrated a basis by which its truth-claims can be evaluated. Religion has no epistemic footing.

You indicate this yourself when you mentioned, "There are over 4,200 religions in the world." (This ignores the various nuanced schisms that exist in many of those 4,200 religions, but we'll let that slide for the moment.) This number indicates there is no real epistemic foundation on which to build a reliable religion. Basically, it's all just gut-feeling, social mechanisms for control, pareidolia, and a desire to know things that are effectively unknowable (or, without answer because the question is bad, such as, "Why are we here?")

So, yes, I think I can say that all religions are wrong, even if they are right in some details. It'd be like the claim, "The earth is warming." That is a correct statement of fact. However, one can be wrong in stating it: "The earth is warming because Hell is getting closer," would simply be wrong.

Religious statements are effectively without basis. Every religious statement that is not grounded in observation and logic (basically, science) can be summed up thusly: "I believe this thing, but I have no basis to assume this thing is true." Asserting a thing as true without a solid basis in observable reality is worse than being wrong. At best it is misleading. At worst, it papers over ignorance, effectively vetoing reason and inquiry.

more than 2 years ago
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Why Juries Have No Place In the Patent System

Tony Re:Ugh... (387 comments)

This would put patent renewal in the hands of the wealthiest, further tipping the balance in the favor of the rich.

more than 2 years ago
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Global Warming 'Confirmed' By Independent Study

Tony Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (967 comments)

Wow. That's some mighty fine straw you used to build that strawman.

Do you want to come back to the real discussion, or are you gonna play outside and joust at it some more?

more than 3 years ago
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Science and Religion Can and Do Mix, Mostly

Tony Sarcasm alert (1345 comments)

I believe AC was being sarcastic. Otherwise, there'd be no need for the scare-quotes, or even to mention tolerance, since that has nothing to do with the article.

I realize there are Christians who attack at every mention of evolution, etc...

Or send death-threats to kids who take a communion wafer out of church, or raise a stink about billboards or bus ads mentioning atheism, or (if you are a relatively recent President) say that atheists shouldn't be considered citizens.

more than 3 years ago
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Science and Religion Can and Do Mix, Mostly

Tony Re:Science and religion will always be in conflict (1345 comments)

Exactly.

And since religion is essentially impotent without those explanations, they are fundamentally in opposition.

This is in spite of the fact that many people are able to compartmentalize these two disparate epistemologies. The fact that people are able to hold two conflicting ideas in their heads does not mean the ideas do not conflict.

more than 3 years ago
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Science and Religion Can and Do Mix, Mostly

Tony Fundamentally in opposition (1345 comments)

Science and religion are fundamentally in opposition. This is easily demonstrated.

While science is just an epistemology, and so might seem to be compatible with the metaphysics of religion, the basic epistemology of religion is exactly the opposite of science.

Science makes only three assumptions about the universe: that it is objective, that it is observable, and that it is consistent. Any metaphysics that embraces these three principles is compatible with science. The application of the epistemology of science requires skepticism and empiricism. It also requires the minimum possible assumptions. This is a tedious process, one that inherently recognizes that each result may be wrong, and assigns a measurement of the probability of correctness. In practice, this has given us a fundamental understanding of ourselves, the universe, and the reality around us.

Science is based on this: evidence first, tentative conclusion second, prediction of unknown evidence, testing of prediction. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Religion, on the other hand, requires a lack of empiricism. It is an epistemology that encourages rational thought about irrational assumptions. This is because religion assumes the conclusion: that there is a god. Religion is predicated on this. It requires this assumption, and it requires that no evidence is necessary for this assumption.

These are two epistemologies that are diametrically opposed. The only way they can coexist is in with the metaphysical assumptions of theology, and well-compartmentalized. But when one encroaches on the other, they are in conflict.

They will always be in conflict.

This is because all religions make specific claims about the nature of reality. And the nature of reality is the purview of science. When a religion makes a specific claim about reality, science can test that claim. That is, after all, what science is good at. In fact, it's the only known successful epistemology for probing the nature of reality. So, science can test any claim religion makes about reality.

And religion must make specific claims about the nature of reality. Otherwise, the religion's god is impotent and worthless -- and then what's the point of it?

Morality? How does the assumption of the existence of a god contribute to morality? There's no way to probe the mind of this god without making even more irrational assumptions -- that this particular holy book is true, or that holy book is true. And then, are the laws laid down in the arbitrarily-chosen holy book really morality, or just law? How would you judge?

That's easy -- you'd judge based on whether or not it seemed moral. The same way people without religion judge morality.

Religion is, ultimately, a disjointed epistemology that can provide no real knowledge. Look at all the different religions in the world to see evidence of that simple truth. The epistemological framework of religion disposes of the exact things that make the epistemology of science successful -- the only way to gain knowledge is through the systematic observation of the attributes of reality.

So, yes. Religion and science are always in conflict. The fact that many people are able to compartmentalize these two opposing epistemologies doesn't negate that fact.

more than 3 years ago
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Science and Religion Can and Do Mix, Mostly

Tony Not true (1345 comments)

Jesus says several times that he was not there to do away with the old laws. So your interpretation certainly ignores much of the New Testament.

In one location Jesus says he's there to pay the debt for sinning. Whether that means stoning, or just the penalty of hell, is up for debate. He wasn't really clear on that point. But breaking the Old Testament rules is still a sin.

I mean, if you believe that codswallop.

more than 3 years ago
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Science and Religion Can and Do Mix, Mostly

Tony Re:Science is evil too (1345 comments)

As opposed to the 'religion' of science:

And how is science a "religion?"

Oh, wait. I suppose you're going to give a bunch of unsupported assertions in an attempt at character assassination.

Nazis leap to mind. They used 'science' to justify their policies

Which science was that?

They didn't use science as a justification. They used breeding. We've been breeding animals for "purity" for thousands of years. What do you think domestication is all about?

Soviet Socialism was 'science' based

How so? In what way had socialism been tested (as is required for a basis in science).

China and it's forced abortion policies are also science based.

Again, what science? It's a social issue, not a science issue.

Science is hardly a pristine philosophy.

Interesting. The only "philosophy" of science is the epistemology of science. And while morality can be studied through the application of science and logic, an epistemology only describes how you know things. It cannot give a logical framework for determining what to do with that knowledge.

The truth is, humans are malliable creatures that fear change and differences in general. They will latch on to ANYTHING that gives them an excuse to act as their Id directs them.

Just because violence is done in the name of religion does not mean that the religion encourages, advises or even accepts it. You are looking at the most extreme people in the most extreme situations.

Really? So it's not religion that encourages a large percentage of the US population to fight against the teaching of evolution? It's not religion that keeps fighting against same-sex marriage? It's not religion that drives the ideology of the majority of the Tea Party?

These aren't just extreme people in extreme situations. These are people who are willfully ignorant because of their religion. And they make up a sizable portion of the US.

I could see the same people burying a woman up to her neck and stoning her to death because her genotyping says she and her chosen partner would create bad offspring...

Really? And how is the stoning related to science in any way? The application of science would certainly not call for stoning. Sterilization, perhaps, depending on the population pressure -- but that would merely be the application of science based on social, not scientific, issues. So maybe sterilization. But not stoning.

Religion, on the other hand, demands stoning for certain crimes -- you know, such as the crime of getting gang-raped by a group of men. (Or, if you are Christian, children that talk back.)

So don't give me your fucking false equivalence. I don't buy it. "Science" is neutral -- it's an epistemology, and a methodology based on that epistemology. That's it. It doesn't demand action of anyone. All it can do is give you a clearer model of reality than you had before.

Religion, on the other hand, outlines horrible sets of laws and calls them "morality."

more than 3 years ago
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Why Aren't There More Civilians In Military Video Games?

Tony Modern Warfare 2 (431 comments)

Yeah. The one level in Modern Warfare 2 that people objected to? Yeah. That was shooting civilians.

It seems censors don't like shooting civilians.

more than 3 years ago

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