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Will IBM Watson Be Your Next Mayor?

cromar Star Trek Season 1 Episode 21 (148 comments)

I can't believe no one has mentioned "The Return of the Archons" yet...

more than 2 years ago
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Broadcom To Buy NetLogic For $3.7 Billion

cromar Re:Tax Breaks (35 comments)

Silly me, I thought that was the reason governments give unreasonable tax breaks.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Solipsism is automatically self-defeating. (547 comments)

Man, I left an anonymous comment last night. I'm not sure what happened to it. Here's the gist of it: I think we both have been assuming the other had a different argument than they did.

My argument is only that it is stupid to criticize people who are religious with the reason that "there is no evidence for God" or that "God is not provable or disprovable." It is stupid to criticize them for that when every sane person also makes a decision based on no evidence (believing that the senses reflect reality). Can we start over from there? I don't find many people willing to talk about the mind in this way, so you probably don't know how much it would mean to me if we could talk a bit more. Can we agree that my premise above is true, or do you find fault with it. I think the next part of the story is very interesting (regarding practicality etc) but I don't think we were on the same page above. So maybe we can start from this premise and move on to it (or really I haven't put much thought into your practicality arguments, and after reading some of your homeunix site, I'd like to chew them a bit more).

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

Reality is not a matter of definition. If something is real it exists, and if it is not real it does not exist. Let's not use the word loosely.

Obviously the senses exist (thanks Descartes), but there is no amount of wiggling around that can prove anything about what they convey to your brain. We can only gather evidence through our senses, and that evidence cannot be used to prove that our senses convey anything about what actually exists.

Furthermore your argument itself seems to say that there is nothing wrong with religion. Many people "perceive evidence" of a god or gods. By your argument that "the perceptions in question as my consciousness is aware of them" are evidence enough that your senses convey information about reality to your brain, so too would it be enough for the belief of a higher power if someone "perceives evidence" of a higher power. I don't buy that, but it's your argument.

Basically I'm just tired of anti-religious people saying that belief in a higher power is "bad" or "stupid" because there is a lack of evidence in a higher power. There is a lack of evidence that our senses perceive reality. It's an assumption (or act of faith) that every sane person makes. All I see is people OK with basing their belief in their perceptions on no evidence and denigrating other people who believe something else based on no evidence.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Solipsism is automatically self-defeating. (547 comments)

Being pracitcal is not "unreasonable" but for a strict definition of "reason" (or maybe I should say "logic" or "science"), yes. I mean that it's not based in reason in that you can't make a reasoned decision whether your senses are real or not because there is no evidence either way. You can reason about the outcome of that decision, but not your senses themselves (you would have to make assumptions that are not based on evidence). Choosing based on practicality isn't the same as choosing randomly, but a practical decision is not necessarily based on evidence. But, I think you are allowing the idea of a higher power being OK into your argument when we are not basing a belief only on evidence. There are practical considerations for believing in a god vs believing in solipsism as well. I would imagine Ghandi's beliefs about science had very little to do with the good he was able to do in the world.

Basically I'm arguing that it is arrogant when people say that others who believe in religion are stupid or that religion is "bad" because there is no evidence of a higher power, when they themselves have made a decision that is also not provable and for which there can be no evidence.

Is that any clearer? I'm enjoying this conversation. You've put forward some very interesting arguments and I hope I can be clear enough that we can delve a little further into the murky regions of human thought.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

It's hard for me to say. You may know more about the subject than me. I do think it's more important what the people in France, Italy, China, etc. thought was going on than outside observers. I'm not against the idea if it were to take hold organically, as you say, and without persecution, but I think it is worth being skeptical when people want to "rewrite" society. That sentiment, maybe in name only, has been the reason behind a lot of evil shit.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Solipsism is automatically self-defeating. (547 comments)

So if you want to convince me to take God 'on faith', you're going to need evidence.

Who said I want to do that? I'm merely commenting on the arrogance held in common by people against religion and people against science. Neither side has any more basis for their claims than the other. Occam's Razor is a good rule of thumb, but it isn't based in reason either. It's just practical. The correct answer is the most likely to be the correct answer, whether it is simple or not, practical or not.

And yet... it's not whimsy or prejudice that drives me to accept these ideas. It's the fact that not assuming them automatically means 'game over'.

No, it's not whimsy or prejudice, but they are also not based on any provable evidence, and therefore not based in reason. I call this faith or belief, but I don't want to get too bogged down in semantics. Whatever you call it, it is not science or reason.

And, interestingly, if you accept such 'non-defeatist' axioms, you get a coherent and demonstrably productive worldview.

This does not mean you aren't making an assumption, and it doesn't prove your belief to be true. We've established that it's a practical decision, but that is not evidence that proves or disproves e.g. the senses. What's funny is that your logic here admits or at least lends credence to the belief in a god or gods. For if we are allowed to make assumptions about our senses and perception, why not accept the "non-defeatist axiom" that God made us and wouldn't give us senses that lie to us? That also can render a "demonstrably productive worldview" (e.g. Ghandi).

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Solipsism is automatically self-defeating. (547 comments)

Then what? Life is meaningless. But if there is no evidence to prove or disprove solipsism, making a decision for or against it cannot be based on reason (which requires evidence).

All I'm saying is that here is an act of faith that every sane person makes every day. As you say, it is a belief based in practicality, not in reason. From this belief comes everything we "know" about the physical world, including science. Therefore even science is an act of faith, and we believe in it for practical reasons, not for purely rational ones.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

Your first invalid assumption is that you or anyone else actually knows anything. Your second is that I am a religious person.

Science is based on observations made by the senses. There is absolutely no proof that our senses reflect reality in anyway. For some reason many "fans of reason" have no problem basing their everyday lives on an act of faith. There is just as much proof that a god or gods exist as there is proof that our senses in any way reflect reality (none).

Furthermore, if you can't disprove there is a pink unicorn in your kitchen, why disbelieve it? That's basically what I'm getting at. Denying or agreeing with some premise without evidence either way is by definition making a decision that is not based in reason.

Believing in our senses and therefore in science obviously has practical benefits, but never forget that it is an act of faith.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

I'm thinking of the Cult of Reason insomuch as it is connected to the Reign of Terror and other extremes of the French Revolution. There are aspects of "civil religion" in Hitler's political ideas (not trying to Godwin you). There are aspects of civil religion in the politics of Mussolini, Stalin, and Mao as well.

I'm not comparing you to them at all. Maybe it's just been the people behind it and their purposes in using civil religion to cement their power that have given the idea a foul taste, but civil religion has not had a good track record.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

Everything is answerable with a scientifically plausible answer.

Prove that your senses and perceptions reflect reality. If you believe they reflect reality, you are engaging in just as much of a leap of faith as someone who believes in a higher power. There is no reliable evidence to prove that a higher power exists and their is no reliable evidence to prove that your senses reflect reality.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

Likewise, people who replace "I don't know" with "science has answered this completely" do a disservice to their own intelligence and science at large.

Socrates was right, we know nothing. The results of science are just as unprovable as the existence of a god or gods or what have you. They may seem provable, in that they are reproducible and practical, but there is no way to prove that e.g. our senses and perceptions reflect reality. It doesn't make scientific understanding any less practical, but neither does the unprovability of a higher power make spiritual understanding less practical.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

They are not mutually exclusive. You are being just as simple minded as the people that only look to spirituality to answer their questions.

Whether you like it or not, religion has played a huge role in getting us where we are today, both in good ways and bad. Leibniz, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Dante, Einstein, Augustine: all men who believed in some form of higher power, even the Christian God. And then there is the contribution of monasteries -- beer, the preservation of literature and mathematics, and on and on.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Religion Influence Epidemics?

cromar Re:Translation: Religion is born .... (547 comments)

I'm not saying that couldn't work, but it's had a bad track record so far...

Humanity needs more of both spirituality and reason. We lack greatly in each.

more than 3 years ago
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BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests

cromar Re:BART really doesn't like dissenting voices (196 comments)

I'm glad you have the right to basically say "Fuck the Bill of Rights!" in your last comment. I'm glad I have the right to say "Fuck you!" Even if they're whiners, we need to protect their rights so we can have beautiful, illuminating conversations like this. Or maybe you prefer countries where they don't even pay lip service to the idea of equality under the law.

more than 3 years ago
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$80 Android Phone Sells Like Hotcakes In Kenya

cromar Re:It's not a bad phone (205 comments)

It's hard to believe my MacMini with the same processor at 0.1 GHz more than the MacBook Pro could run Flash but the laptop couldn't. In fact, I had a Core Duo MacBook that could run Flash just fine...

more than 3 years ago
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$80 Android Phone Sells Like Hotcakes In Kenya

cromar Re:It's not a bad phone (205 comments)

My Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz Macbook Pro wasn't good enough to run Flash :D

I'm going to have to call BS on that.

more than 3 years ago
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BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests

cromar Re:BART really doesn't like dissenting voices (196 comments)

Somehow how I don't remember BART being mentioned in the First Amendment. Did it really say we have the right of peaceable assembly except where BART prohibits us?

more than 3 years ago
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BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests

cromar Re:Baby with the bathwater (196 comments)

Still, the people of San Francisco pay to run BART, which pays the carriers, so OP's point is still valid. BART is a public service, owned by the public, and its officers do not respect that relationship when they assert their authority arbitrarily.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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House Websites Pwnd

cromar cromar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cromar (1103585) writes "Thirty Congressional websites were defaced early Thursday morning, following President Obama's State of the Union Address...

"F*** OBAMA!! Red Eye CREW !!!!! O RESTO E HACKER !!! by m4V3RiCk ; HADES ; T4ph0d4 — FROM BRASIL" reads the message left behind for Congressional members to discover. The anti-Obama tone is a huge change from previous defacements by the Red Eye CREW, warning those who seen them to "SAY NO TO COMMUNISM."

The defaced sites were powered by Joomla, a CMS similar to WordPress, but it is unknown if the CMS software is to blame for the attacks."

Link to Original Source
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ACLU FIles Suit over FISA Bill

cromar cromar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cromar writes "Anyone on the ACLU supporters' list got an email declaring that the ACLU has filed suit regarding the FISA bill:

Yesterday, President Bush signed an unconstitutional domestic wiretapping bill and one hour later, ACLU lawyers filed a landmark lawsuit to challenge its constitutionality.

... If Congress and the Bush administration thought yesterday's signing ceremony would be the end of this battle, they have severely underestimated the ACLU and its members' resolve to stand up for freedom and the Constitution. If they can't do it, we will.

You can donate here if you are inclined to defend the Bill of Rights."
Link to Original Source

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Ethanol May Increase Pollution

cromar cromar writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cromar writes "The rush to grow biofuel crops — widely embraced as part of the solution to global warming — is actually increasing greenhouse gas emissions rather than reducing them, according to two studies published today in the journal Science.

One analysis found that clearing forests and grasslands to grow the crops releases vast amounts of carbon into the air -far more than the carbon spared from the atmosphere by burning biofuels instead of gasoline."

Link to Original Source
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Whitedust Closed Permanently!

cromar cromar writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cromar writes "I was going through my RSS feeds and tried to read an article from one of the Whitedust blogs... it was 404. I went to the main page, and to my horror, they have the following on display:

14 August 2007 — 23:58 GMT

With the industry and those in it so seemingly hostile to Whitedust, and pure apathy from anyone who thinks otherwise. Why bother. This site is now closed permanently. It's staff have abandoned the scene and the industry for real world projects — for good, you won't be seeing us again. You "Won".

Good luck out there. You'll need it.

-The Staff
I, for one, am going to sorely miss them."

Link to Original Source
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iPhone Hack: Enable Pay-As-You-Go Wireless Service

cromar cromar writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cromar writes "Whitedust is reporting that late Tuesday night hackers "released a new tool called iASign." The program "lets you pay for your phone with a prepaid card (as low as $10), meaning that you no longer have to sign a two-year AT&T contract to use the iPhone.""
Link to Original Source
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BBC Reports Sony is Cutting PS3 Price Tags

cromar cromar writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cromar writes "From the Article:

"While Sony is faring well in Japan, sales are lagging in the US Sony is slashing the price of its PlayStation 3 games console by 17% or $100 in the US to boost sales.

"As a result the PS3 will now cost $500 (£249), between $100 and $200 more than versions of the Microsoft Xbox 360 and twice as much as the Nintendo Wii.""

Link to Original Source
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IPhone cracked by Jon Lech (DVD Jon)

cromar cromar writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cromar writes "Jon Lech announced today that he has "found a way to activate a brand new unactivated iPhone without giving any of your money or personal information to AT&T NSA. The iPhone does not have phone capability, but the iPod and WiFi work."

See the blog entry for more information and downloads."

Link to Original Source

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