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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

drosboro Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

Well, generally the Socratic (I think?) definition for knowledge is "justified TRUE belief" - so that you can't "know" something that is actually not true, you can only think you know it.

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

drosboro Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

It would only be equivocation if the ID proponent was implying that there was no inherent difference between types of evidence or warrant... and of course, you're right - that's exactly what many (most?) ID / YEC types do.

At the same time, it's fair to point out (as I did in the post you are replying to) that the opposite problem has occurred in many other posts here - a "straw man" making the term "belief" out to mean "accept as true without evidence", when that is not really what is meant at all. The question is really about different types of evidence, and how much weight we give them in determining our "beliefs".

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

drosboro Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

Even if a hypothetical scientist existed who had first-hand knowledge of every experiment ever performed that lent support to the theory of evolution, we would still be right in saying he "believes" his theory, because he takes it to be true. I think you would be right in saying that his justification for that belief is stronger than a person who only believes it because someone trustworthy has told them about it, but that doesn't change it from being belief to something else. We still "believe" facts (e.g. we hold them to be true), even a priori ones like "2+2=4" or firmly established ones that are the result of significant scientific inquiry.

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

drosboro Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

And, if you think that, I would expect you to include evidence from Dr. Seuss books in deciding what is true. Of course, I think most reasonable people would be able to point to evidence that some claims in the Bible are more reliable than those in Dr. Seuss. For example, there is no external evidence supporting the existence of Solla Sollew, while there is a significant body of evidence supporting the existence of the Nile river, and it's location in Egypt, for example. Other claims in Solla Sollew (or virtually any other children's book, Dr. Seuss or otherwise), though, may in fact serve as very good evidence to support belief. I personally find Dr. Seuss to be very insightful in terms of the nature of people and interpersonal relationships. My children, no doubt, believe that I love them IN PART because of the relationships they've seen in books in which parents love their children. It wouldn't do if that were the only evidence, but it certainly supports their personal experience with me.

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

drosboro Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

You've misrepresented what I said. I didn't say that "people REQUIRE evidence" to form beliefs, I merely said that most people believe things (not EVERYTHING they believe, but most things) because they have evidence for it. My evidence is both personal (I can enumerate many beliefs that I hold based on evidence) and extra-personal (I can hear other people give "reasons why" when they argue their own beliefs).

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

drosboro Re:Wait a sec (772 comments)

No, not really. “Belief” is just “holding something to be true” - and in general, most people believe things because they have “reason to believe”, in the form of evidence. It’s actually very difficult to believe something you have no evidence whatsoever for. Both the evolutionary scientist and the religious person may hold beliefs (things taken to be true) around evolution that are based on “reasons” or “evidence” - it’s just a question of which reasons or evidence one takes to be valid/trustworthy (e.g. “I can see this fossil of an extinct species in this rock”, “the Bible tells me the world was created in 7 days”, etc.).

about 2 months ago
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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

drosboro Re:Science (772 comments)

I don’t think you’ve got your definition of “believing” quite right - there’s no reason to require “belief” to be unsubstantiated. In fact we very often hear scientists say things like “I believe that [x], and here’s why”. To “believe” just means to hold something to be true.

In fact, philosophers have long defined “knowledge” as “justified true belief”. There’s lots of variations on that theme, and arguing about whether that’s a right definition - but the argument is not about the “belief” part as much as the “justified” and “true" parts.

So, it is in fact incorrect to say that science eliminates the need for believing - what it does, however, is provide reasons or justification for our beliefs.

about 2 months ago
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Broadcom Releases Source For Graphics Stack; Raspberry Pi Sets Bounty For Port

drosboro Re:It works well enough, depending on your applica (77 comments)

Well, I started off trying it out just to make sure I could get the software running the way I wanted to. My plan was to trial it with the rpi, and then move to "proper" hardware with dual ethernet ports eventually. But, as I mentioned, I'm saturating my connection with the rpi and a USB->Ethernet adapter, so I haven't seen any reason to move "up". Works great, draws very little power, and gives me all the speed I need. So, why wouldn't I?

about 5 months ago
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Broadcom Releases Source For Graphics Stack; Raspberry Pi Sets Bounty For Port

drosboro It works well enough, depending on your applicatio (77 comments)

Depending on what you're trying to do, you may or may not ACTUALLY have any performance trouble with this bug. I've been using an rpi as a router / firewall / proxy / etc. in my home for about 1.5 years now. I'm using the Ethernet port, plus a USB -> Ethernet adapter to get a second port. Performance may not be spectacular, but it's still good enough to saturate my home (15-20mbps) connection, with about 8-10 devices on the other side. Not bad, for a device that cost (including case, power supply, SD card, and ethernet dongle) about $60. Granted, there's lots of applications for which the rpi is not well-suited - but basic home-networking stuff doesn't necessarily have to be written off.

about 5 months ago
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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other

drosboro Re:The Type (336 comments)

We're not built to be loaners.

Of course not. We're built to be borrowers.

And yes, that was the only part of your comment that deserves a response. Good day.

about 8 months ago
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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other

drosboro Re:The Type (336 comments)

Actually, there's a lot of research into the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain. There's even a Wikipedia article on the topic, so it must be legit. :) If I look at a kid who's tired after lunch, you're right - probably just that sleepy time of day. I'm that way myself. But I've got plenty of students who are sleepy throughout the day, show behavioural and cognitive effects consistent with chronic sleep deprivation, and really struggle as a result. Good for you for being the anecdotal exception, but I see this basically every day in my job.

about 8 months ago
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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other

drosboro Re:The Type (336 comments)

I don't know any of these kids myself - my kids are a couple of years beyond kindergarten now. But, as a first aid attendant (and teacher) at a different school, I can attest that I'm seeing more playground injuries now than 10 years ago. The equipment has never been safer, but perhaps that gives kids a false sense of security that it's okay to push kids or play-fight when you're 4 feet off the ground on some equipment or other.

When I mentioned this news story to a primary school principal I know, her immediate comment was that so many kids that age are showing up so sleep-deprived, they basically show all the symptoms of ADHD. I don't teach primary grades myself, but I've certainly seen this in some of my older students.

And, I'm guessing you were making a light-hearted "Canada" joke, but it should probably be pointed out that 5-year-old hockey camp doesn't generally include body contact. To my knowledge, that all starts somewhere around 12.

about 8 months ago
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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other

drosboro Re:The Type (336 comments)

As it turns out, I'm ALSO a pedagogue (with a Masters degree and about 15 years of experience in the classroom to date). I happen to think you're wrong, on all counts. The school needed to act on not just pedagogical theory in this case, but also to demonstrate legal "due diligence" that they were dealing with a safety hazard for children that had already resulted in several injuries. I don't have personal knowledge of the students involved, so I certainly wouldn't want to call myself an authority on how this situation was handled (although that doesn't seem to stop others, who have even less knowledge of the situation than I do), but this situation seems to have been an ongoing one that presumably was not being "solved" by other measures that had already been taken. Also, I don't believe anyone (in the know) has been claiming that bullying is at play here - it seemed to me from reading the letter sent home to parents that it's basically normal "rough-housing" that is problematic because it's resulting in injuries (e.g. when it happens on playground equipment and results in falls), moreso than any sort of bullying.

Finally, "so-called teachers are obviously unprofessional and should be avoided", when you know as little about the situation directly as you do, seems to be a bit unprofessional from a self-proclaimed pedagogue such as yourself. These are all well-qualified teachers who in my experience in dealing with them in other situations (e.g. when my own kids were directly involved) have always conducted themselves with the utmost integrity, competence, and care for my children. So, frankly, I take your opinion of them for what it's worth. I'll let you run the math on that.

about 8 months ago
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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other

drosboro Re:The Type (336 comments)

I've got a little bit of knowledge of this specific situation, as it turns out (my kids are at the school). The Slashdot summary, in typical style, is way out to lunch. The school has placed a temporary ban on play at recess or lunch that involves physical contact between kindergarten students. This is in response to a number of injuries that have happened with this particular class. Given that we're two full months into the school year, I think it's pretty safe to assume that the teachers have done the "Billy, please don't hit Bobby" routine, and there's a few kids for whom that's not working. At this point, given the way negligence and liability works in Canada, if the school was not to react in some way, my guess is that legal action from one of those lawsuit-happy parents we often read about could in fact be successful. So, they responded and said for the immediate future, there will be no touching on the playground, for the class that's having the problem.

As for "shocked parents", I'd say it would be more accurate to refer to "the shocked parent". This would be the one who went straight to CTV News without clarifying the situation with either the teacher or the principal. Most of the other parents that I've talked to are more than a bit disgusted by a) the decision to skip the usual channels and go straight to the news, b) the extremely slanted news coverage (which of course seems to have exactly the one interview with the one mom, since few of the other parents were willing to go on camera when it was obvious the angle the news was taking), and c) the gross overreaction by the news-story-commenting-public.

about 8 months ago
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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other

drosboro Re:The Type (336 comments)

As it turns out, I actually know the administrators personally, as well as the kindergarten teachers. My kids go to this school, and have had this principal for several years. I have nothing but praise for this principal and the kindergarten teacher that my kids had. They're excellent, committed professionals.

Of course, that doesn't stop someone who's read the Slashdot 1-paragrapher of the original, grossly-slanted news story from launching an ad-hominem attack on people (s)he doesn't know. Way to jump to conclusions.

And, really - 5, Insightful?

about 8 months ago
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10 Ways To Celebrate International Pi Day

drosboro Re:Get stuffed on delicious raspberry pies :-) (180 comments)

Just finished teaching my pre-calculus class we've made kind of a week out of it a bunch of students were going away for Spring Break a little early, so we had several pies (coconut cream and strawberry rhubarb were among the standouts) on Tuesday then we went back to it today with a couple of apple pies for the few kids I've got left :)

Now if only there could be a mathematical constant called "poutine", I'd really be set.

about a year ago
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Among Servers, Apple's Mac Mini Quietly Gains Ground

drosboro Re:A new fad? (367 comments)

I've got a Mac mini with CyberLynk / Macminivault. What they offer - a dedicated server (albeit, not the most powerful one imaginable, but dedicated nonetheless) with a significantly lower cost than other colocating companies. They even financed the server for me over several months (at 0% interest / fees, if I recall correctly their special at the time). Then, when I got sick of OS X Server (after about 12 minutes), I emailed them, and they went ahead and installed Debian on the Mac mini for me (in fact, I believe it was Jon Schwenn from the article who did it). There was some confusion about how to get it to reboot after power failure under linux, but a little careful googling fixed that. It's been running perfectly ever since.

Long and short of it? I've got a quad-core dedicated Debian server at less than 1/3 the price I used to rent a similar machine for from another company, and close to the price I was paying at the time for a VPN at Slicehost. The service from Jon and his co-workers has been outstanding, the data centre has been reliable (one brief hiccup due to a power issue in the last year and a half). And I'm with you on this point - not quite sure why anyone would really want to run OS X Server.

about a year ago
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LinuxFest Northwest is Coming in April (Video)

drosboro Re:Easy to book vendors (43 comments)

Well, your criteria is a lot stricter than mine... I just need my trip across the border to save me money after I factor in my time... So, when I can get down, pick up a mail-ordered bit of electronics (e.g. a camera for my daughter's birthday, about $40 less than available in Canada), a tank of gas (saving about $20), and some milk and cheese (saving another $20 or so), it becomes a worthwhile trip - I live very close, so the round trip is only about 45 minutes including border waits, most of the time. Add in the fact that I find the drive rather enjoyable, and I make the trip fairly often.

You are right - the border folks can be a tad unpredictable. But lately I've found them much more likely to let you through (assuming you are upfront about what you've got and are in possession of your receipts), even with largeish amounts (several $100s), than they are to ask you to go inside.

about a year and a half ago
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LinuxFest Northwest is Coming in April (Video)

drosboro Easy to book vendors (43 comments)

Since Bellingham is already a hot-spot for Vancouver-ites doing their cross-border shopping, it's gotta be easy to book vendors! Looks like a great event.

about a year and a half ago

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