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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Paging Arthur C. Clarke... (490 comments)

" And that's assuming that the English translation is actually 100% faithful to the original meaning, which I doubt."

From what I've been told, copies of the Bible are pretty darn accurate. One of the values of the Dead Sea Scrolls was demonstrating that the words hadn't changed significantly over the centuries.

As for the translation, the tough part on this particular subject is likely that the language didn't provide for distinctions between "Earth" and "other planets' since no other planets were known to exist by the people who spoke the language that was first used for writing down Genesis. All they knew was that there were points of light in the sky. A planet was just a point that wandered as opposed to one that remained still.

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Yawn... (490 comments)

I won't address whether or not they are headed for Heaven, but simply note that you can't have a coherent discussion about a religious grouping of peoples if you're not going to group them based on their religious beliefs.

Imagine you're doing a study of mice and you take measurements to find that 0.00001% of them are over 200 pounds! When someone asks you how you were deciding whether each specimen was a mouse you say "we'll in many cases we just asked, and some frat guys in Mickey Mouse ears assured us they were mice, so we included them in our measurements even though they don't fit the 'traditional' views of what a mouse is or should be."

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Can we even detect ourselves from beyond LEO? (490 comments)

they did that with Voyager: turned it back on Earth and the answer came back "Inconclusive". I don't think they were that far away, either.

Was Voyager looking for "life" or "intelligent life"?

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:ET would disprove God (490 comments)

Your quote from Genesis refers to all things "on earth". It doesn't mention giving man dominion over outer space (it mentions the sun and moon, but doesn't say anything about giving man dominion over them). Psalms was written much much later and is mostly (entirely?) poetry. You can expect a little poetic license. I don't know of anywhere that the Bible discusses what we should do with outer space and any aliens we find. By extension of the general themes of the Bible, I would expect we should do our best to use the resources of outer space wisely for the good of all man our posterity. And I would expect that we should treat any intelligent aliens well. What might be tricky, for Christians and non-Christians alike, is if we explore and encounter aliens who a lot smarter than apes and dolphins, but a lot dumber than _most_ humans.

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Note: Theologians (490 comments)

So while the Pope and Dalai Llama might be willing to welcome ET with open arms, wingnuts like Westoboro Baptist are going to have apoplectic fits about "devils" and "demons."

The Pope has like a billion followers and Westboro has like 20, right? So we're in pretty good shape.

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Average I.Q. (490 comments)

There is a lot of wisdom built into many of the world's theistic religions. A low IQ person without this wisdom is less likely to survive, to start a family, to support that family, etc. For a high IQ person the wisdom can still make a difference but they are more likely to be able to accomplish goals despite the lack of received wisdom.

So perhaps it isn't a matter of high-IQ people becoming atheists, it is a matter of low-IQ theists being less likely to take themselves and their offspring out of the gene pool.

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Why post this here? (490 comments)

Most religious people make a non-binding prediction that there is no life on other planets. Doubly so, but still non-binding, for intelligent life. This is because we are the most important species and planet.

[citation needed]

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Yawn... (490 comments)

Just out of curiosity, on what basis do you consider them "Christians"?

yesterday
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Something is missing. (490 comments)

"He discovered that from Baptists to Buddhists, from Catholics to Mormons, from Islam to the Anglican Communion, religious views on alien life differ widely." He skipped Atheists?

yesterday
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Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

readin Re:No surprise (224 comments)

"Hell, if I could headbutt another human into oblivion for a mate, I would too. Here's the funny thing folks, humans are animals too! We have all the same urges and evolutionary pressures,"

As any male should know who went to high school. What do you think all that bullying was about? Guys were showing their dominance to win females. Those same urges were why it was so hard for the guys being picked on to just shrug it off or ignore it - how can a male shrug off being humiliated in front of potential mates?

about two weeks ago
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Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

readin Re:No surprise (224 comments)

You're right. In a one-on-one fight there is some sense in not killing your rival if he's willing to back down so that you don't have to expend extra energy trying to finish him off.

But when the battle becomes group against group the advantage of mercy is less clear. An enemy left alive has more choices. Rather than accepting that he can't defeat you he may come back with larger numbers. He may jump up and hit you from behind as soon as you turn to battle one of his companions.

In an environment of tribal warfare, it doesn't make sense to kill your local intra-tribal rival because he's likely to be your ally in the next inter-tribal battle.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

readin There was a question? (224 comments)

This is a case where new science seems to confirm the common sense that old science was questioning. Of course chimps evolved to fight. They fight for the same reasons human tribes fight - competition for resources (including breeding females as a resource).

about two weeks ago
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New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

readin Re:Not a problem... (326 comments)

That assumes that all those environments are pointless wastes of space, unfortunately that premise isn't true- those areas of land serve important purpose for example the sands of the Sahara blow across the Atlantic and fertilise the likes of the Amazon rainforest.

A lot of people say "Why don't we geo-engineer the Sahara to make it tropical forest again!" but it becomes almost a zero-sum game, as you grow forests in Africa you decrease the fertilisation of the Amazon and so growth is stunted there in turn.

You're saying Saharan sand is good fertilizer? I wouldn't have though it was true, but if it is I have to wonder if it opens up an opportunity. We take sand from the Sahara to fertilize lands elsewhere - taking it all from one place to begin with. Once we've dug enough sand out to make an area below sea level, we can flood it with water from the Mediterranean Sea.

Benefits:
* More fertile land throughout the world
* A new sea where fish can grow.
* A way to slow or even reverse the rise of the oceans by putting the excess water in the new sea.

Am I crazy? Why?

about two weeks ago
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New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

readin Re:Not a problem... (326 comments)

We can debate if cities have higher crime or not. People in cities tend to live longer lives - at least in developed countries. So I am not sure what to make of your dirtier and dangerous point.

Go to a city and sniff. You can smell how dirty they are. I was in NY (Manhattan) a while back and the smell of trash was quite common even in areas that seemed to be quite nice and expensive.

about two weeks ago
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New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

readin Re:Not a problem... (326 comments)

Vast areas of Earth remain unpopulated. In no particular order:

  • American Midwest
  • Most of Canada
  • Australia's Outback
  • Siberia
  • Sahara and other hot deserts
  • Antarctica — a whopping continent

Sure, some of the above would require some work to make comfortable, but it can be done even with today's technology — by 2100 even an individual (or a family) would convert surroundings to their tastes. And it would certainly be easier, than moving an appreciable quantity of people off-Earth...

I spent quite a bit of time in the American midwest. It is hardly unpopulated. And if it were any more populated than it already is, where would we get our food from?

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

readin Re:Microsoft can now kill Java (330 comments)

Minecraft is the only game out there that uses Java, but the Xbox 360, iOS and such versions do not use Java, so what I expect to see is the Java version gets dumped and work continues on the non-Java versions, which would benefit everyone.

What about people who develop mods for the game? I would like to see modding made easier - a sale to Microsoft doesn't give me much hope.

about two weeks ago
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Justice Sotomayor Warns Against Tech-Enabled "Orwellian" World

readin Good start (166 comments)

I like that she is speaking out on this, but I wish she would say something about the attempt to repeal the free speech/press part of the first amendment that the Democrats are working on. https://beta.congress.gov/bill...

``Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.
``Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.
``Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.''.

For clarification, Section 1 will be interpreted as "for any purpose we say 'protects the integrity of government" no matter how far-fetched a regular person would think it is. (see Wickard v. Filburn).
"by candidates and others" will be interpreted as "by anyone and/or everyone"
" reasonable limits" means "however much the party in power decides"
"and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations" means whichever party in power can choose to limit corporations but not individuals, and they can also choose to limit individuals but not corporations. It's unclear to me if it also means they can choose which people to limit (though they'll surely figure out a way to do so).
" Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press." Given that a straightforward interpretation of this statement would negate the entirety of the amendment, the Court will have to conclude that it doesn't mean what is says and that it does indeed grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press (since you'll need money to buy ink).

about three weeks ago
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Obama Administration Seeks $58M To Put (Partly) Toward Fighting Ebola

readin Re:cost-benefit (105 comments)

I agree we should fund this. But we should also cut spending somewhere else to pay for it. If Ebola is important enough to spend the money on (and I believe it is) then it is important enough to find the money to spend by cutting other programs. When you see someone proposing spending without explaining how to pay for it as the President is doing here (and plenty of Congressmen are equally guilty), they're not being serious about governing- they're campaigning.

about a month ago
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Obama Administration Seeks $58M To Put (Partly) Toward Fighting Ebola

readin Re:Any of our money that Obamebola sends to Africa (105 comments)

How did you get modded down for this? The corruption in Africa is world famous with many relief organizations complaining about how much charity funding the local governments and warlords divert to their own purposes in maintaining power.

about a month ago

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