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This is a place for general chit-chat about virtually anything that doesn't fit anywhere else.
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What is going on?

The Bar
(talk) (talk) (talk) (talk) (hic)

  1. What about interviews? (11:44, 24 Apr 2017)
  2. Climate news (16:11, 18 Apr 2017)
  3. GMO foods (04:28, 14 Apr 2017)
  4. Would human extinction be such a bad thing? (18:44, 27 Mar 2017)
  5. Argument for the existence of limited god (09:57, 26 Mar 2017)
  6. Is there any hope (00:48, 25 Mar 2017)
To do list


Myths of Skepticism

By Mike Sofka. Fails to credit Duhem, Quine, or Lakatos in his formulation of falsification, though. Tsk tsk. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:52, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Though it is nice to see people get a bit beyond Popperian falsification, which I've always thought to be highly over-rated as a demarcation tool. Though, what is the point of Myth #6? Seems to be "personal experience is equally valid to reproducible and statistically relevant facts... so...?" Not sure. If anything, I'd replace that one with the myth that science is somehow a magical medium that affects only "science" type things. Science is based on learning about the world by daring to actually look at the world. In that respect, looking both ways and listening before crossing a road is as much science as sticking someone in an MRI system to look at their brain. If you build science up as something more powerful and mysterious than that, you simply perpetuate the idea that an individual's prejudices and experiences and biases are equally valid as more solidly collected facts: "I prayed to God, and then a tax rebate came, therefore God is real!". Scarlet A.pngmoral 10:33, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Interesting article but at some level I am not sure he was saying all that much. The falsification question is one that particularly interest me. I am bit on the opposite spectrum of Armondikov and have yet to ever see a real alternative that I think captures a better demarcation system. Yah it needs a touch of refinement, but a primary argument that seems to basically say that falsification is a bad demarcation "cause that is not house science is done" doesn't impressive me that much. I think folding it into a Bayesian type system solves most of the issues in the article. Everyone has a prior and choosing the prior can be messy and does have a direct effect on how we process probabilities for hypotheses. Single observations can only adjust our expectations of the truth of a hypothesis in proportion to how far off from expected data they are, otherwise its a conglomerate of observations that adjusts are probability weight. So P(D|H) is a very important term, which takes care of the crazy mystic too. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:06, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I simply don't think it's the be-all and end-all, especially in that naive form. A lot of fledgling skeptics treat it as some litmus test for what is "science" and what is "bunk" but I'm not sure that everyone really understands how to use it. If I'm sat with a few people hashing out reaction mechanisms, falsification is the last thing going to be on anyone's minds. We'll think of observable consequences to a particular hypothesis, but it won't be formalised in a Popperian way - are we pseudoscientists until that point? Clearly, its abuse as a hard-and-fast litmus test means we'd never get anywhere because there'd be no way we were allowed through the proto-science stage - string theory and loop quantum gravity, for instance. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 19:04, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
As a litmus test its about separating out "science" not sorting into one of two categories. If a hypothesis can not make predictions that are observable (technical limitations or otherwise) it fails the litmus test as it should. But what it is after that is open to debate. String theory and loop quantum gravity are not testable hypotheses (yet at least) and are not science. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:09, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Yet they actually do have observable quantities - one predicts minute wavelength dependent differences in the speed of light, for instance. But saying they're "not science" puts them in a different category to the reciprocal system, as the reciprocal system does make observable statements - it's just that Satz backpeddles like crazy every time he's wrong and formulates things ass backwards. The difference is staggering, yet this falsifiability litmus test (based on Popperian demarcation) would make Ron Satz's work "science" and stuff done by Brian Greene and Michio Kaku as "not science". Scarlet A.pngbomination 21:24, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
But when has a theory that can explain any given result ever "passed" a falsification litmus test? Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:45, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Falsification is much more important, I think, in social sciences. For fields like physics, theoretical derivation has worked well enough. Do the same thing in the social sciences and you get, say, pretty much all of pre-20th century anthropology and history or theoclassical economics. It is handy, though, if you intend on starting an academic cargo cult. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 10:52, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

This seems nuts

Imagine having to admit you got beat up by Justin Bieber. I can hardly think of anything more embarrassing. DickTurpis (talk) 15:20, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Amazing, and he needed to go to the hospital to. This guy's life is over. It doesn't matter what he does now, he's always going to be known as the guy who got beat up by Justin Bieber. Onion <talk> 15:39, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I wonder what the reaction would be if it had been a girl who had gotten beat up by Justin Bieber? Nihilist 16:10, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Amazing, and she needed to go to the hospital to. This girl's life is over. It doesn't matter what she does now, she's always going to be known as the girl who got beat up by Justin Bieber. Onion <talk> 16:49, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I doubt it. While there may still have been some "ha, you got beat up by Justin Bieber", it'd be nowhere near the ridicule a male would get -- because, you know, Justin Bieber's effeminate and has a girly voice. Nihilist 17:01, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
A girl getting a beating from beiber would be torn apart by rabid beliebers AMassiveGay (talk) 17:25, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Probably "give it to me, baby!" Scarlet A.pngmoral 18:50, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
YOu didn't mention it was a paparazzi that got beat up by Bieber. I have no sympathy for them at all.--WickerGuy (talk) 22:30, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
the only people allowed to be beat up and get no sympathy are deniers. --il'Dictator Mikal 16:34, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I feel sorry for the guy, getting beaten up by a girl is bad for one's image. --Raga Man (talk) 10:54, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
It's funny, because you implied he was of the inferior sex. Nihilist 16:29, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Troll--ZooGuard (talk) 11:37, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

NDT and skepticism in the internet age

I'm sure most of you have seen this, but it was the first time I encountered it. Neal Degrasse Tyson speaking about skepticism and the internet age. .--Green mowse.pngGodot 19:17, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you've got the wrong link. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 11:47, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Stop Alien Abductions!

Stop Alien Abductions! I can't tell if this site is for real or not. AceModerator 21:34, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Poe. It must be poe. If it isn't poe then we deserve to be conquered by Little Green Men... --TheEgyptiansig001.png 22:20, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Did you the "Skills/Tools" required section: "Dexterity, use of scissors, adept at cutting and shaping paper and plastic sheets."
Surely can't be for real. AceModerator 22:23, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
As they seem to be actually selling stuff, it could be actually a very malicious hoax.--WickerGuy (talk) 22:43, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I've seen this site before and it is definitely poe. As for it being a possible scam, well, it doesn't seem to me that the website itself is directly selling anything, its just listing a bunch of random stores.[1] Onion <talk> 23:45, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia used to have an article on the founder of the site and it got nominated for deletion with the decision to delete. Discussion is here [2]--WickerGuy (talk) 22:46, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
This is another site ran by Menkin. Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs are a real duo in the alien abduction world, but it seems like the site is just name dropping rather than being associated with them. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 10:15, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
It's a pretty funny site. Nihilist 17:43, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

I think we should ban dihydrogen monoxide, the odorless, tasteless killer, maybe the aliens would leave us alone then. ♥♥Alyssa Bryant♥♥Leave me a note 17:53, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Not scientific but possibly true? Massimo Pigliucci on String theory and Freud.

In this podcast [3] of the James Randi Foundation's show "For Good Reason", Massimo Pigliucci points out that Freudian psychology is in a sense unscientific because it is not falsifiable insofar as everything in human behavior could in principle have a Freudian theory. Nonetheless, MP suggests in some sense it might be true, just as string theory might be. String theory is similarly completely untestable (no known experiment can falsify it, while it is consistent with all the data), but might be true.

MP also notes the conflict within the skeptic community of global warming and notes that most of those in the skeptic community who disbelieve in global warming also tend towards libertarian politics.--WickerGuy (talk) 22:37, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Notes: I actually gave the URL of Part I of a two-part podcast. "For Good Reason" is now hosted by DJ Grothe, who used to host CFI's "Point of Inquiry" before Chris Mooney and others took over--WickerGuy (talk) 22:37, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

I am in way over my head here, so call me out of this is BS, but I think "science" has to take into account more than just "is it falsifiable", to the point of saying "does the math line up?" "Do our current observations line up?" There will not be a yes/no, but a "closer" "farther" sense of it being true - and it's still science. The thing with Freudian analysis and therapy is that they could actually BE TESTED if anyone really wanted to bother. You could do long term studies on a large enough sample size, analyze for particular issues that all share (whatever those be), and see if they improve in quantifiable ways. This won't be done, I suspect, cause 1) it would cost a lot, and 2, few people buy into Freudian psychology all that much any more. (the same way they do not buy into Darwin's theories any more. Time and study have radically altered the basic idea that were presented). --Green mowse.pngGodot 23:27, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I disagree -- Darwin's ideas were the groundwork for half of the modern evolutionary synthesis (along with Mendel). Freud's ideas have been largely rejected by modern psychology. The ones that haven't (e.g., certain defense mechanisms, the unconscious) are mostly ones that Freud didn't invent anyway. Plus, Darwin didn't fabricate a good deal of his data. There's also a good meta-analysis of studies similar to what you describe, which suggests to me that talk therapy in general is to a great degree just an elaborate placebo. Though the line between placebo and treatment is pretty blurry in clinical psychology. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 08:23, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I think I agree with you on Freud. The notion that a scientific theory has to be falsifiable was proposed by the eminent philosopher of science Karl Popper, but now it's seen to be problematic, as MP points out in the podcast. But MP is using the word "scientific" in a more peculiar sense. False theories such as Newtonian physics can be "scientific", they just are not "true"!! In other words, he's using the word "scientific" in a sense of something within the purview of science to say Yes or No to.--WickerGuy (talk) 02:24, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Freudian psychoanalysis did make plenty of falsifiable predictions that have since been, er, falsified. See our very own Sigmund Freud page. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 08:03, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
This is the problem I have with falsifiability as this great science litmus test: people just present their straw man version of the theory, say its unfalsifiable and declare it non-science. Done. There's a good post that I think is by Lee Smolin (and I want to find it again) explaining in very clear terms how LQG and string theory are falsifiable, it's just that the differences are subtle and only really conceptually accessible to anyone is who isn't balls-deep in theoretical physics. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 10:08, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Mis-application of something doesn't discredit the thing itself. (If that were so, one of the first things to go would be evolution.) Popper's attack on Freud is more in reference to its practitioners' severe case of confirmation bias. I actually doubt Popper knew or read much of Freud in reality, because large parts of psychoanalysis are clearly (and easily) falsified. Read Loftus, Webster, Cioffi, etc. Or Grunbaum, who attacked Freud and Popper at the same time. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 11:27, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I've read Loftus and I totally agree with you.--WickerGuy (talk) 13:41, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

General POE note

Occasionally purveyors of POE put in definite clues that this is a hoax, but still fool many people. Case in point: Famed 2002 French mockumentary Dark Side of the Moon purports to demonstrate that the NASA moon landings were faked with the help of film director Stanley Kubrick. The second half of the film has increasingly ludicrous stuff including interviews with scientists with the same name as characters in later Kubrick films (one of them is "Jack Torrance"!!) and STILL audiences who saw it thought it to be a sincere documentary!!--WickerGuy (talk) 22:42, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Ummm, "we" are familiar with it. "Some of us" even added it to our Moon landing conspiracy theories article. "Some of us" even have witnessed the effect on several occasions. And it's "Poe", because it's a person's name. See Poe's law, if you haven't already.--ZooGuard (talk) 22:58, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Mea culpa on the Poe caps. Thanks for the correction. Never meant to imply folks here at RW didn't know about it- just thought that in particular it was an interesting case of strong Poe clues being deliberately put into the charade that some American viewers in general (not meaning RatiWik viewers) missed. Sorry if I was unclear!--WickerGuy (talk) 02:28, 29 May 2012 (UTC)--WickerGuy (talk) 02:28, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Bah, so this entry isn't even about Power Over Ethernet? Something something... I thought this was supposed to be Rat on a Wiki yet there are all these pictures of Goats? (talk) 07:33, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Confuddling, isn't it? Anyway, my acid test for parody has always been style over substance, but sometimes it can be very subtle because parody/satire doesn't have to be fart-joke funny (ah, the number of people I went to school with who didn't know Scream was satire!). Sometimes you have to know where to look to see if someone is being sent up by a parody. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 09:39, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and I have sent Onion articles (about right-wing movements) to friends (liberals in the MidWest) who didn't get it was satire.--WickerGuy (talk) 13:39, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
That probably has more to do with the Midwest than it does with the Onion  :-) Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 18:42, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Eurovision Song Contest

How has no one already made a thread about this year's Eurovision song contest? Clearly it is the most important thing in the world. Personally, I think Hungary deserved far better than 24th(!!) place and I have no idea how Albania managed to get anything above 26, yet (let?) alone 5th. Also, Russian Grannies, just because. X Stickman (talk) 08:06, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

my only experience with eurovision are these three SATW images, so i really cant talk about it. --il'Dictator Mikal 08:10, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Sweden seemed to have some dance hit from 1997 and a girl pretending to be MC Hammer, complete with the crab stepping and billowing trousers. So while I will never understand, it was a clear winner from the off. And while I only caught the end of the Hump's effort, I don't think it was that bad! Scarlet A.pngbomination 09:34, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
As someone who has watched Eurovision long enough to remember Puppet On A String - and I'm not (that) gay - I feel that the standard is dropping. The Balkan/Baltic voting blocks have distorted the voting to the point that it's ridiculous. I really miss Terry, or even Katie Boyle (ask your mum). And it's been ages since we've had an Abba, or anything that you would listen to outside of the contest.
No, like the rest of the world, it's going to rack and ruin (mumbles into his pint, muttering gently as the men in white coats come and take him gently back to the Home For Gentle Folk). Bad Faith (talk) 11:08, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Turkey's entry, with the remarkably flamboyant backup dancers who made a boat out of their capes, and whoever's entry started with a man moonwalking onto the stage while playing the bagpipes, were the highlights of the evening for me, frankly. Also I *do* think Humperdink was that bad, although I think Albania was far worse. X Stickman (talk) 11:29, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, I only caught the end of it, and it sounded like vague Tom Jones style crooning. Perhaps it was more offensive in the middle. The standard is dropping somewhat. We need to get Finland to take the hint and send Apocalyptica, or Nightwish or pretty much any of its metal there because it's just so much better, and their record with Lordi speaks for itself - and think, the UK could have sent Justin Hawkins at some point (who doesn't like flamboyant rockers?), but we ended up with Scooch. In short, I think the UK takes it far too seriously. No one wins Eurovision by taking it seriously. Scarlet A.pngtheist 16:13, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
We almost sent Nightwish in 2000. As usual, the jury fucked everything up. Vulpius (talk) 19:49, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
The moves were definitely weird but, being a fan of almost anything from the 90s, I loved Sweden's song. I also liked Israel's entry, while Georgia and Montenegro had just the kind of insane shows I like seeing in Eurovision, so it's a shame they didn't get in the final. Hell, Montenegro's singer was named Rambo Amadeus. That alone deserves a few points. Vulpius (talk) 12:10, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
If a novelist used that name for a character, they'd never live it down. Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 18:41, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

A question to ponder

Could have the American Revolutionary War been avoided if the colonies had been given seats in Parliment? I got to wondering this when I found a quote by George Mason saying that all they want is their "Rights as Englishmen". Clearly they thought of themselves as English rather than American and felt they had inherent rights as a result of this. Interestingly enough most of the Bill of Rights existed in English law at the time (establishment clause being the obvious exception, but disestablishmentarianism was alive and well in England at the time) it just did not apply to the colonies, for example, if you lived in England the crown could not take your gun away, but if you lived in New York they could. Point being, if the Parliment had treated the colonial subject equal to their breathren in Great Britain would the US of A exist today? Pi 3:14 (talk) 13:55, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Probably; though something like it (or a mix with canada more likely) would have eventually happened. --il'Dictator Mikal 14:07, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Wait... so instead of one nation under God, it's "erm... can we be English please?" --PsyGremlinTal! 14:41, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I know that some of the founding fathers where originally willing to negotiate with the crown before the war broke out, but the English refused to give the colonists full rights or representation in Parliament. They also caused economic problems with the Tea Act and all that, and as we know for a fact that the economy is what sways public option. If the English had simply treated the colonists as Englishmen rather then treating the colony as an economic asset then there would have never been a need for a USA. Onion <talk> 15:16, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Though no one can ever know, I do think that we would have demanded independence at some point. It's simply too rich a nation (as in natural resources), and too much land for grabbing to think we would not at some point say "we have more than you, and we are going to trounce you". It's how humans seem to think. As long as being part of the UK served us, we might have stayed, but how long could it really be that they provided something useful for us, and not the other way around? --Green mowse.pngGodot 15:41, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Before the revolution and during the Articles of Confederation period immediately afterwards, each of the 13 colonies had their own colonial identity. Early US history has plenty of state vs. state conflict. Without anything like the USA to tie the colonies together, there could be serious conflict. The United Kingdom would be useful as a mediator to prevent conflict and keep the colonies working together. Simple forces like patriotism would also have a big impact in preventing revolts. Also, would Napoleon sell Louisiana to the UK? If there was no Louisiana purchase, then there's not a lot of land to grab without starting a war. The British empire could definitely help with that kind of expansion. Onion <talk> 16:03, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
The french revolution? --il'Dictator Mikal 16:16, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah silly me, I forgot that the french revolution would not have happened. My mistake. That of course is a big deal, the world would be a lot more monarchist and there would be no Napoleonic code. Onion <talk> 16:20, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Napoleon would certainly not have sold Louisiana to us, seeing as he was at war with us and sold it because he needed the cash. Sophiebecause liberals 20:07, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

So I went to a Tea Party meeting...

mainly because this ball of crazy was going to be there and I wanted a laugh. It really did deliver. Those people just hate goddamn everything. They were so far-right that even Fox News (and everyone on it) is on their shitlist for not bringing up their birther bullshit.

"Lord" Monckton showed up looking almost exactly like this, cowboy hat and all, spouting the usual anti-science nonsense and everyone in the room just ate it up. Then there was a Q&A where he got asked about 5 or so questions about Agenda 21, which was pretty funny. Oddly enough he got asked about Chemtrails and he basically said they were bullshit, so a point to him for that.

Overall, I take some solace in the fact that the average age was probably triple my own, so they won't be voting much longer. Cow...Hammertime! 15:49, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

As harsh and morbid as it may sound, the only thing that's going to thin the world of right-wing nutters is them slowly dying off. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 16:09, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Too bad that hasn't worked for racism/sexism/anti-intellectualism that still persists in The South. -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:45, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
The Tea Party has less in common with the Boston Tea Party and more in common with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party from "Alice in Wonderland".--WickerGuy (talk) 18:55, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
thank you for telling us something we've known for... what, 2, 3 years?--il'Dictator Mikal 19:31, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
CowHammer, I forgot that you're in batshit crazyland when it comes to tea-drinkin' Republicans. That puts a different perspective on what that meeting must have been like.-- Seth Peck (talk) 20:39, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
This was not only in Arizona, but the city with the oldest people. Fuck, they had specifically-marked sections for golf cart parking. They were passing around donation buckets to support Sheriff Joe's Cold Case Posse. The first speaker was implying Obama is literally Satan. It was absolutely bonkers. I proudly wore my bright green ASU LGBTQ shirt I got at last year's Pride and I'm surprised I didn't get turned away at the door. Cow...Hammertime! 20:50, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I really can't wait for him to try and implement his "i can keep fed's out of my county" thing.il'Dictator Mikal 20:57, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Did you get his autograph? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:55, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Haha he did use that logo on the powerpoint slides, so yeah he's definitely still using it. He did mention people saying he's not a lord (probably because he's not), but he used a bulletproof argument of "hey look what it says on my passport: blah blah blah Viscount. checkmate". I was considering getting a picture with him, but my brain was hurting after he was done and I felt compelled to leave. Cow...Hammertime! 14:49, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Everyone knows the Miami cannibal story, right?

Meet LSD on steroids. (talk) 18:10, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

It's all just speculation at this point. General consensus is that the guy was very high on something, but until autopsy results are available, it's all just people guessing what he was on. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:27, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
It's the zombies, silly! On a serious note, this was what my class was talking about for a good 20 minutes after the bell...RandonGeneration (talk) 19:54, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
All over my GD facebook feed as a "zombie apocalypse!1!one!" status update. All I can think is (a) uh, no, he was shot, (b) his victim didn't turn into a zombie, and (c) angel dust is a helluva drug. -- Seth Peck (talk) 20:37, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Medical Schools Don't Necessarily Teach Scientific Method.

See this post Medical training versus scientific training which goes a bit of a ways towards explaining why this year's commencement speaker at Emory can be an accomplished medical doctor (at Johns Hopkins no less) and be creationist.--WickerGuy (talk) 18:57, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

I really dont care if my doctor is a creationist or an atheist or anything else wicker, so long as they know how to be a doctor. --il'Dictator Mikal 19:06, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm really torn. (general belief in 'god' or religion aside), if you are willing to believe that the world is 6000 years old, you might be likely to accept that vaccinations are not critical, or think that my vagina is your business - well, i guess it would be, but you know what I mean. heh. On the other hand, that you believe in a god, or think the world was generically created by god doesn't bother me. --Green mowse.pngGodot 19:18, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I sure hope so. --god 19:27, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you don't need to know what or who created a machine to make the thing work again, you need to understand how the thing works. As for the other things, let's keep that under "not guilty, until proven guilty". Although I should say, should I ever meet a doctor rambling on about how the damn liberals are ruining <insert country name here> or that it's all the damn gayz fault, I'm gonna ask for another doctor, just to be on the save side. --Raga Man (talk) 19:27, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
What's that Asimov story where the troubleshooters figure they're going to die because the robot controlling the space station thinks it is god? Anyway, the robot performs its function perfectly, they don't die, and they realise that it's actually carrying out its instructions perfectly well, it just has this rather... eccentric... perspective on why the instructions need carrying out. If you just want the job done you don't care if the people doing it are crazy. On that basis educating medics about science is important only for the same reason as educating painters about science, or TV presenters, or whoever.
Most practitioners don't make a lot of big scientifically guided decisions, relying on a smaller group of doctors who mostly do have scientific training because they've got PhDs to make those calls. And ordinary doctors are currently strictly forbidden from doing informal medical experiments, even though they're excellently placed to do so. There are pairs of treatments where both are used to treat a specific condition and it's unknown which is best. Doctors prescribe one or another based on personal familiarity, the inclination of the patient, or on a whim. That's legal. But if they instead assign half the patients randomly to receive one of the treatments and half the other, then measure the outcomes, that's an experiment and they legally require additional training, independent oversight and lots of extra paperwork. So even if they do this, they mustn't tell anyone for fear they'll lose their livelihood (talk) 22:07, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Practice and research are often disconnected. That's why it doesn't surprise me when practitioners become cranks. Speaking of creationist doctors, the Disco 'Tute has one of them. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:34, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Doctors are technicians that think critically. They don't normally do experiments, I hope. sterileevolutionist story telling 01:14, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
While the thought of doctors as creationists does bother me, I agree that it's not the most serious concern. I worry much more about the for-profit medical industry in America, and how it's becoming increasingly difficult to find doctors whose primary concern is to help you - not themselves. And, of course, being able to afford to see the right doctor is difficult enough. Those of us forced to visit clinics and nurse practitioners and such get to realize that even they are often out there trying to sell you something. But, look no further than prominent physicians in the political sphere; why do you think people like Ron (and Rand) Paul, Tom Coburn, Bill Frist, et al. went into medicine?
On a side note, there's a doctor close to where I live who has a sign on his building stating that you're not welcome to his services if you voted for Obama. Q0 (talk) 11:19, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Plea for help

I posted this I think in the forums but never got a bite. I am in production at the moment with | Media for Social Change to collaborate on a cool potential new project for RW/RWF using video mediums and we are putting together a promo vid to shop the idea around. We need pictures though to use for an intro animation. The idea is to highlight as many examples of the kinds of topics we cover at RW as possible, so we are looking for as high res as possible images that depict any of our topics, religion, woo, conspiracy theories, medicine, people, proponents, whatever. Anyone want to help cull photos on RW that would be good, perhaps upload some more? Tmtoulouse (talk) 20:11, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Marriage derangement

Not to reveal my own prejudices in the subject, but for all of you who voted that gay marriage is "the most pressing LGBT issue in the West" above - or those who would be inclined to agree - can you explain why, please? I am very curious. Uke Blue 20:11, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

I said bullying. Marriage is largely a social construct, although it provides important legal benefits (like visitation rights and such). I figure bullying is most important because otherwise LGBT will feel ostracized and stuff. Let gays be accepted by society, then let us give them equal rights. Or something like that. Made more sense before I started typing.--"Shut up, Brx." 20:26, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
  1. It's easy to implement; no real gray area.
  2. It truly is the most important issue for a lot of people in long-term same-sex relationships.
  3. It's indicative of a larger societal shift in the views of homosexuality in this country.
I'm not saying the other issues aren't problems, but damn this is an easy one to fix. Cow...Hammertime! 20:32, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Kind of a chicken v. egg problem. Which will come first...same-sex marriages being recognized by the United States (all of them), or gays being accepted? I disagree with Brx that the latter should come first: after all, only one of those two can be legislated. Plus, if you compare this to previous civil rights movements, acceptance (women voting, racial integration in schools, etc) only came after laws were set forth saying "it's not okay to discriminate"...and in many places, acceptance still has not been achieved (as anyone in the South can tell you), but the rights are there, inscribed in the law. I also disagree that marriage is largely a social construct; it is entirely a social construct. However, that's a different subject altogether. -- Seth Peck (talk) 20:34, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Pardon my terminology, but I believe that same sex marriage rights will create a domino effect that will help us solve all the other problems. Self harm for example - "I have the same legal rights as everybody else, so maybe if the government thinks I'm OK then there's nothing wrong with me!" Onion <talk> 20:44, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
i second what onion said. Same sex marriage will change how str8 folk see us and it will change how gay folk see ourselves. We often talked of as dirty promiscuos beasts and why dissuade them of that when your attempts of at monogamy or whatever are not taken seriously. I however will remain a filthy beast marriage or no marriage. AMassiveGay (talk) 20:56, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, gay marriage should come first. I am changing my mind.--"Shut up, Brx." 20:58, 29 May 2012 (UTC):
Besides most of the other stuff is already being tackled. In the UK at least. AMassiveGay (talk) 21:00, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I think they're both slowly coming at the same time, but legalizing same-sex marriage will probably be a huge boost to acceptance. Nihilist 21:05, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I recently saw a bit of a Richard Dawkins video with someone wearing a T-shirt saying "Marriage is so gay".

More seriously, I support gay marriage because it is a kind of point of no return for gay rights which therefore should be strongly lobbied for.--WickerGuy (talk) 23:31, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

"it is a kind of point of no return"
Unless you live in California. Nihilist 23:44, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh you hippies and your states were people can be openly gay without bars in their windows and a CWP. ТyrannisAn iron, but caring, fist 00:35, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Blue rants at you all

In other words, you are all arguing for the trickle-down effect vis-a-vis civil rights. Marriage is not the lynchpin of LGBT (LGBT NOT GAY) rights; it's the cherry on top. This is why in places like the UK where heads are screwed on straighter than the American Bible Belt, marriage equality will be the last civil right to be codified, not the first. You are insisting that once we get the cherry, the sundae will materialize because the shop owner of society will think, "Oh, they have a cherry, I should really give them a bowl and ice cream and toppings to go with it." I simply don't understand it, at least when we're talking about the U.S.

This is not to mention the fact that since gay marriage is widely considered the end-all, be-all of LGBT rights, if it comes first, society will be much less open to more important legislation in the future, including anti-discrimination ordinances for sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. "They got their marriage, what more could they need?"

How will the ability of two (statistically) economically empowered lesbian and gay people to sign a marital contract lead to the direct betterment of the hundreds of thousands of homeless LGBT youth on the streets? Answer me that. I'm speaking to the Americans here, apologies to those in Europe.

Welcome to the modern American LGb(t) rights movement, where two adults signing a piece of paper is more important than the suicides of children at the hands of their peers. Where that piece of paper is worth more than the right not to be fired or denied a roof over your head on account of who you are. I do hope the “Human Rights” Campaign are happily sipping their appletinis at the thought of all the bourgeois white gay people they’ve helped.

Oh, how far from Stonewall we’ve come. Uke Blue 00:06, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Well, I stand by my stance that marriage should be abolished entirely, and the legal perks that go with it should be restructured to better reflect the fickle nature of human relationships and commitment; ie, tax benefits and division of assets after a split up (divorce, as it is now). I think that would be a much better approach as it would benefit a much larger number of people. However, I know few would actually go along with that plan, so gay marriage is the next-best alternative. --CoyoteSans (talk) 00:15, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against gay marriage. Why should I? I just boil with rage at the fact that the bourgeois normativists swooped in and diverted the LGBT movement toward their own ends. States like Connecticut and Massachusetts can afford to have the marriage debate, because most of the rest of civil rights are in place. Other places should not be focusing on marriage when it matters little to the real people on the ground. Seme Blue 00:24, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
For god's sake, blue, it doesn't work that way. Gay rights is very young, and very new. It took 2000 plus years to get equality (sorta) for women, and 100 to get blacks the right to vote, after being freed as slaves. The world does not say "everyone is equal" and bing it happens. You chew at it, and then you chew some more. You need tangible goals, like gay marriage. Ones you can easily explain to everyone, and show in logical ways that current status is discriminatory. You need reasonable goals. You need specific goals. And one of the most important issues you need, is to bring yourselves into the open where people can touch your curly hair and your black skin and see for themselves it does not rub off. I know no one who thinks marriage is the "be all" of gay rights. They think it is one of hte many important steps (in the US, it goes with repealing DADT, and then DOMA). It removes the only real LEGAL barrier for full citizenship, then you have to work on teh social barriers. But hate to tell you this sweety, that takes a lot more than a law or many laws. Women, as you know, are still facing a world where we are 2nd class citizens in some aspects, where we have 1/2 to 1/4 the power we should have (ie., equality or 50% of house, senate, local positions). Blacks are still held down by a system that sees them as criminals. ALL WE CAN DO, the ONLY THING WE CAN DO is make gays legally equal. And marriage is the single most visible aspect of that.Green mowse.pngGodot 00:26, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
(see other response below) And I very much enjoy being lectured at about how best to go about obtaining legal equality by a straight cis person. Because we all know that cis straight people know best about LGBT rights. Uke Blue 12:50, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
If you're not interested in straight cis people's opinions on LGBT rights, why post this question here rather than at a primarily LGBT site? ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:22, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
No, I wasn't interested in being told "hate to tell you this sweety" and "it doesn't work that way" by a straight cis person. You can have opinions without using your privilege to reinforce yourself. It's the same idea as "mansplaining." Seme Blue 21:28, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
WfG is right. Legal rights will help get rid of the rationale for other forms of discrimination. I do agree however that anti-discrimination laws need to to be tougher and apply to every state, especially for transgendered persons. Onion <talk> 00:38, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't LGBT youths on the streets be more of a homeless issue? I say we build more homeless shelters and more opportunities for the homeless to get back on their feet.--"Shut up, Brx." 00:53, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
My eyes are wet. Marriage is not "the only real legal barrier for full citizenship." Did you know, if I were to move to where Ty lives down in Louisiana, it's highly likely I'd face extreme difficulty getting and keeping a job because in that state it is FUCKING LEGAL to discriminate against my kind and they do it with glee? How is that not clear? How is unreasonable to ask for the LEGAL PROTECTIONS of the Civil Rights Act to extend to people like me? How is it not "specific" enough, not "logical" enough, not "tangible" enough to ask for the LEGAL RIGHT not to be thrown out a public place for being who I am? Forget it. I don't think you even want to try to understand. Seme Blue 03:07, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
So what you're saying is our true challenge is that we still have to fight against discrimination to have the basic right to participate in society (without being in the closet, and unless one lives in San Fransisco), and a piece of paper that would make it easier to pay taxes is less important? I think I'm starting to see your point now. So, what should we be doing to help solve this problem? Onion <talk> 03:29, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
you can complain all you want that 'straight people can't tell gays how to get equality" but I've been there, done that. We as a nation have fought for equality for women and blacks, we know how its' done. And it isn't by saying "dont' tell me how to do this, cause you are not one of us." Malcom tried that, didn't work so well. Yes, gays can be fired legally in LA. Give them gay marriage, and that goes out the door. know why? cause of the 14th amendment. By the way, you are talking right now as if this is a unique issue gays (trans, whatever) and gays alone have experienced. You define a class of people and right now say "they are not fully equal, cause they can't get married". Change that, and it changes teh whole damn game. By the way, while it's not legal to fire someoen for being black in teh US, it happens all teh time. and until the 1950's it was fully legal to do so. I get that it's a terrible thing. But the "peice of paper" is EXACTLY what legally changes this. Cause it's the only single thing right now, that can be used to justify other legal discrimination. Green mowse.pngGodot 21:37, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh, so only straight white males have to keep their traps shut. Which is clear because there are no other grounds of discrimination, like (non-)religion, political beliefs or the most common "looks". --Raga Man (talk) 22:07, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Look, I know I get emotional over this debate for the very fact that it's so personal to me, but I appreciate this dialogue happening, I really do. It's intriguing to me particularly because even though you (WaitingforGodot) and I agree on almost everything politically, we disagree so fundamentally on this issue. I can sort of see the premise of your point of view but I simply can't fathom where the conclusion comes from. I have a feeling we disagree fundamentally on the definition of citizenship, its relationship with legal rights, and the origin of legal discrimination. I could pull out Supreme Court cases and the Civil Rights Act and the legacy of Stonewall and the history of the HRC, but I don't think we can overcome that fundamental disagreement.
Raga Man - lol. Uke Blue 02:28, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Why is this being discussed as an either/or thing? can't all these things be tackled simultaniously? AMassiveGay (talk) 07:11, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

They need to be tackled in individual jurisdictions. In the UK, there's not much we can do about discrimination in Louisiana, for example. Obviously it's important to raise LGBT rights awareness internationally, but issues of civil rights can't be settled internationally, which is why the whole question of the "most pressing LGBT issue in the West" is flawed. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:28, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Having just now seen this (and not voted), I'll say that it's a bit problematic. It all depends on how you look at things, and how you define what it pressing. To me, out of the things listed, the first priority should be to help those that are homeless and disenfranchised. That is clearly the most pressing issue in the world today, along with the subsequent lack of education it causes (which only makes things worse for LGBT rights in the long run). However, the issue I think would have the most impact on the social mindset is adoption. While the backlash over same-sex marriage has little to do with whether or not such a union can be successful, the inherent idea blocking those very same couples from adopting is exactly that. It's plainly stated that same-sex couples are unfit to raise children, to the point where a good number of people actually believe gay = pedophile. To me, combating that type of bullshit is a lot more serious than fighting for gay marriage. After all, not being able to get married makes you a second class citizen, while not being able to raise a child makes you a second class human being.
Still, you can argue that even this argument misses the point. Not all people get married, and not all people have children. The best approaches are ones that directly help all LGBT people, which I think is what Blue is trying to get through in the first place. Q0 (talk) 08:25, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Mind if I share this rant amongst various LGBT types (I really can't think of a better term for "people who are really interested in sexual rights and discussion on account of multiple factors, including but not limited to being homosexual, bisexual or transgendered themselves" right now) and see what they think? Scarlet A.pnggnostic 08:53, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Blue, I get why you are pissed, but the question was about "the West" and in a lot of places there such discrimination doesn't happen at all or even if, it is extremely rare. If the qustion was about the United States, I wouldn't have voted for same-sex marriage but for bullying. And if it were Luisianna I would have picked workplace protections.
The problem with LGBT-people not being treated fairly is that it can't always be legislated. While you can have legislation for fair treatment at a workplace in public places and all that stuff. You can't legislate parents to love their kids, and you can't legislate for LGBT-people to have friends, you can't legislate for people not to believe that LGBT-people "demonicly possesed" or some other homophobic shit — and yes, these are very pressing issues, but not in all of the West. These things are like fighting cancer, they just don't go away because you had a "very special episode" about homophobia with some homophobes, just like cancer won't go away after one session of chemotherapy. Most of these people won't change their mind, but what they will accept is that the rest of society thinks differently from them and that if they act on their hate people will treat them badly. One way to teach them this lesson is gay marriage, others are all the other legal issues we have to tackle. But sadly the best we can hope for is them dying out in the next decades. --Raga Man (talk) 08:58, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
@Armondikov - if you were talking to me, sure.
@Raga Man - I completely see your point, and my perspective is too Americentric to apply to everyone who answered the poll. I do think that LGBTphobes are a dying breed (slowly, but surely), even in the U.S. where support for LGBT rights is massive among young people and small among the elderly. Seme Blue 12:55, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

And to wrap this up - it's also worth noting that my "ranting" opinion is shared by quite a few people. It appears that a vast number of LGBT people share my belief that marriage is not the most important issue. I'm not trying to go argumentum ad populam here, but in identity politics, context matters. It's questionable that the beliefs of so many are not being respected by the gay rights movement (inc.). Trans people especially will not easily forget decades of being told that their rights (yes, rights, as in the legal ones) are too inconvenient to fight for. A poll with a much higher votership than this one in the bar on the HuffPost revealed 67% of respondents saying that there were other issues facing the community more important than marriage.

Please understand that I don't begrudge same-sex advocates their marriage, I merely resent the way the "LGBT/Human rights" campaigns have focused their energy. The HRC and assorted "equality" lobbies spent millions on gay marriage in New York and Maryland, but when the trans anti-discrimination legislation came up, they were nowhere to be found. Both bills are set to fail. There is something rotten in a social movement when that happens, I submit to you. Uke Blue 19:08, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

The 21st Floor Wiki Project

"The 21st Floor Wiki Project plans to open up scientific research to the public by offering plain-language summaries of important scientific research. If you have written or read anything that has been published in the scientific literature, please feel free to create a page which summarises the work." here. Interesting? Scream!! (talk) 23:04, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Is that different from Wikipedia?--"Shut up, Brx." 23:29, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Wiki P fairly intentionally does not address research with more than a cursory "several theories exist to explain this". This project will actually take your paper that is written in science-babel and turn each individual study into something someone like me could understand. I'm dubious, only because if a scientific paper could have been written in "plain english" it would have been. it needs techno babel cause the author doesn't want to spend 10 pages explaining one word that every reader already knows. But if they want to, more power to them.--Green mowse.pngGodot 00:05, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I'd be curious to see if this can be made to work. I think Blue is basically right, and to make them understandable to the layman it'll either need to over simplify everything, defeating the purpose of the paper, or go off on tons of tangents explaining everything in layman's terms. Or just fuck everything up completely, like the media does with science all the time (eg "dinosaurs were killed by their own farts"). DickTurpis (talk) 08:25, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
It would be cool if we could, you know, just actually have access to the papers themselves a lot of the time. That's a big issue for WP itself. When your goal is to accurately lay out what the sources say, and yet you can't even gain access to the required evidence because of the cost, there's a problem. Even when certain editors do have the papers on hand, there's no way for those of us who do not to actually check them. It sure puts a damper on that whole freedom of information thing. Q0 (talk) 08:33, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
There's a small movement to push academics to do this already, specialist bloggers already do it. But even the most lay interpretations of the stuff I do ("Okay, so we align this spinny magnetic things...") seem to be met with wide-eyed staring. Scarlet A.pngmoral 08:49, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Add open-mouthed drooling to the wide-eyed staring. Fortunately, they made cartoons to explain things for me. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:31, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Freedom of information does not mean that a scientist or author should not have the right to copywriter his or her articles, or be paid for them. All the articles are available, online. they are just not free. If you want free, most libraries have access to the very same articles and you can just walk in and use them. Just because it's in the scientific arena and part of the peer review process does not mean it's "free".Green mowse.pngGodot 00:34, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
How dare you try to educate me with cartoons! Scarlet A.pngmoral 17:08, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Cognitive biases vs. science

This paper must have won some kind of "most unnecessarily meta" award. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:54, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

(I think I am losing my ability to read academic writing - either that, or it's BS. I can't tell which, but i was actually so lost on the abstract I was left saying "HUH?" I need to read Twilight, I think.) But really at my core, i'm curious why this is even a question. If i get where teh guy is going, he is saying that if he can prove science and scientific thinking is evolutionary, it's more valid than if it's just something we invented out of the blue. and if that is a framing statement, my question is "why". If science works, how is it more or less valid because it "evolved"? --Green mowse.pngGodot 00:08, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
"But really at my core, i'm curious why this is even a question." Mostly because of stuff like this. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:17, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
You've hit the nail on the head. The paper is a rebuttal to Alvin Plantinga.--WickerGuy (talk) 18:55, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Donald, you’re beginning to sound a little ridiculous

CNN's Wolf Blitzer calls out Donald Trump's birtherism. Fucking hilarious. The Symphony of Noise The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 12:54, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

"Beginning"? Uke Blue 13:00, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
^^ what she said! --Green mowse.pngGodot 20:31, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
*snicker*--Raga Man (talk) 22:10, 30 May 2012 (UTC)


In theatres today in Europe and on June 8th in the US. Who's going to see it? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Me! Though Michael Fassbender is a big part of that, I'll admit. Uke Blue 20:22, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Hey. It's Ridley Scott's first Alien movie since Alien, although he's being coy about the connection.--WickerGuy (talk) 18:57, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Alien/s (there were no other movies) fan squee! ТyrannisAn iron, but caring, fist 19:02, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

pro life logic

I was just told on some opinion site (I know, don't read the bottom 1/2 of the internet. worse, don't play down there) that "if we keep abortion legal, the human race will go extinct". yeah..... at 7 billion, statistically "most" families having 4 children, I'm just not worried that the 2 million abortions per year in the us will have us going "extinct". Stupidity knows no bounds.--Green mowse.pngGodot 21:17, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

That sounds a lot more like trolling than somebody's honest opinion. Link? WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:25, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
huffpo. hang on... [4] - and i guess I misread it. "the human race will be extinct by then" meaning "if you wait till humans care for our own". --Green mowse.pngGodot 21:29, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Police aerial drones

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell thinks police drones flying over Virginia would be "great" and "the right thing to do." He joins a growing chorus of US officials, such as D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and chief of police for Fairfax County David Rohrer, who are chomping at the bit for the domestic use of UAVs for regular police work over American soil.

Next, I predict the FAA will clear private security companies the use of UAVs, and corporations and the ultra-rich will finally have their own private armies of robotic soldiers to deter the unwashed masses. --CoyoteSans (talk) 22:11, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Unless something is done about that Fourth (and 14th) Amendment, this will not last very long. Mr. Anon (talk) 22:14, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
We took care of that problem back in 2001 with the PATRIOT Act. Sky cameras for everyone! Except for the plebeians, of course. --CoyoteSans (talk) 22:17, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm just not seeing the Constitution saving us from much of anything like this anymore. They'll eventually justify it with whatever bogeyman they can come up with at the time.
Besides, given the TSA, and stories like this, what exactly is an 'unreasonable' search or seizure these days? Q0 (talk) 22:30, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Constitutionally, or even practically, is there a difference between police flying around the skies in helicopters and them having unmanned drones do the same thing? DickTurpis (talk) 00:37, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Unmanned drones are scarier. Nihilist 00:44, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Damn, I did forget the Scary clause of the Fourth Amendment. DickTurpis (talk) 00:55, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, that and it's a slippery slope -- i mean, if we implement this, how far away are we from half-dead cops being made into cyborgs? Nihilist 00:58, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. You need, what, one or two warm bodies for a helicopter? Right now you only need one operator per drone, and that's only if human attention is needed and it's not just in an autonomous patrol mode or something. The technology is only going to get more sophisticated, and the AI running these things is going to get better. You can bet the military is spending plenty to fund research into better auto programming for their drones, and those results will trickle down into the domestic units. Imagine a few dozen drones over a state overseen by a single cop.
Also, remember "drones" does not mean just the Predator class vehicles. I foresee bomb squads using those packbots the military currently uses to disable IEDs, and who's to say variants of those little hummingbird drones from the CIA won't find their way into a precinct near you? --CoyoteSans (talk) 01:11, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Technology is going to evolve. I don't think there's really a way to stop it. Nihilist 01:15, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
No, and I'm not claiming we should try. I'm actually all for anything that further legitimizes and grows the robotics industry (particularly on the domestic front), but I feel the kind of scalable power these particular robots gives authority figures warrants laws and regulations to provide oversight for their inevitable use. There really isn't any framework in place for such a situation yet, and the people pushing for this certainly don't seem inclined to allow that to happen. --CoyoteSans (talk) 01:19, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, that's agreeable. Nihilist 01:21, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
So the difference, really, is scale. DickTurpis (talk) 01:52, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

The difference between the Patriot Act and this is that the Patriot Act required some authorization of wiretaps. There was a large lack of oversight, which was a concern, but it's wiretaps required approval of an executive agency. Unmanned drones flying across the skies, at least based on this description, would indiscriminately spy on civilians, without any kind of warrant. That said, some parts of the Patriot Act are probably in violation of the 4th amendment, but this would be considerably less sketchy. Mr. Anon (talk) 02:22, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

The difference with the TSA is that people are subjecting themselves to such searches, rather than here, where a robot decides whether or not you have rights. Mr. Anon (talk) 02:24, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
The drones are doing pat-downs now? DickTurpis (talk) 02:46, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
It'd be a lot less offensive if they were.
I think he's saying that traveling is not a right, or something. "As long as you just sit in your home and don't communicate with anyone, your rights are not being violated!" Or maybe it's "Don't worry, the President himself signed off on the government spying on you. There must have been good reason." Q0 (talk) 08:10, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
But how is this any different than what's been going on for decades with manned aircraft, other than the potential for use on a greater scale? How is a drone flying over you "searching" you? DickTurpis (talk) 11:53, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm not claiming there's something extra-sinister about drones themselves; the idea is a bad one whether or not people are directly involved. The only thing that makes this a significant development is that drones would make surveillance easier and more practical. Technology will increasingly do so, and that's why it's important to take the initiative before things become standard and accepted. You know, like surveillance from manned aircraft.
As for How is a drone flying over you "searching" you?, how is a camera on every street corner "searching" you? This kind of argument is exactly why I take issue with people saying the constitution is somehow going to protect us from draconian law.
More importantly though, this is just another reactionary response that solves nothing. While I ask "What makes someone commit a crime?", they ask "How can we best round up criminals and put them into jail?". Q0 (talk) 14:33, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm not arguing that this is a good idea, I'm merely questioning those who seem to say it's an unconstitutional violation of the 4th amendment. Cameras don't search people, so it isn't an unreasonable search or seizure, any more than a cop watching you walk down the street is. I don't see how it's a robot deciding whether you have rights. If they're looking in your windows or anything like that, that's a different story. DickTurpis (talk) 15:16, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
You're right. The argument is of the 'spirit' behind the text, which is the same complete and utter nonsense that leads people to claim the second amendment gives them the right to own a truckload of automatic/semi-automatic largely defensive weapons of gun firearms.
In the case of search and seizure, I happen to agree that the idea should be extended to include surveillance... but that's not what the text states. And if the constitution doesn't say what it needs to say, amend it. Q0 (talk) 15:50, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Radioactivity and nuclear power FAQ

I want to make a FAQ that's similar to RationalWiki Atheism FAQ for the Newly Deconverted, but dealing with radioactivity & nuclear power. There is a start in my userspace, which is lifted from the bits I wrote in radioactivity, but I don't really have a good idea what questions are 'frequently asked'. Therefore, I'm asking the mob for suggestions. They can be put here or on the userspace article's talk page. --Tweenk (talk) 00:58, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Can I get superpowers from nuclear radiation? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:53, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
If cancer is a superpower, then yes. Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 02:28, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm all for it. Have you seen the attempts to convert radiation doses into bananas before? There are a lot of ways to visualise and graph radiation dose concepts that I think would benefit this greatly. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 17:06, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

North Carolina trumps AZ and FL in total stupidity

They legislators there are proposing a law that defines how science shall calculate predicted rises in sea level, and goes on to say no govt agency of any level (municpal, county, etc.) shall make plans using any numbers other than those prepared in accordance with this rule. and the rule? Only data from the 1900s forward can be used, and the rate may ONLY be calculated linearly from those numbers, with no additions from other "ohhh scary" sources that would suggest other than a liner progression. Wheeee... if you can't beat mother nature, just legislate her out of existence. see § 113A-107.1.(e).--Green mowse.pngGodotWhen I graduated, Cognative Science of Religion didn't even exist! now it's everywhere 02:27, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Facepalm.png Seme Blue 02:30, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
... but... what?--il'Dictator Mikal 02:35, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
here, in case you dont' want to read the whole thing: The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission. These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.
Ordinarily, examples of this sort of foolishness rely heavily on a deep understanding of some relevant specialisation. The water does not just lap slowly but surely up the sides of the coastal walls, inexorably flooding a city over a period of years. Instead it rises and falls, there are floods and then periods where it doesn't flood for months or years making the picture confusing. This makes it easy to convince the layman that nothing serious is wrong even when experts are certain there's a serious problem.
But you can see the exact same fingers in ears determination to ignore reality for IPv4 address exhaustion, where the statistic being measured and the reality it measures are identical, there are 2^32 addresses, we're using them up, when will they run out? The answer had been "Somewhere around 2010" for over a decade, but the "sceptics" spent that decade denying that we would ever run out at all. In 2011 exhaustion occurred, as planned for by the rational people managing these things. But out in the real world "scepticism" had won and we're in for a painful decade (or more) as projects to cope with the consequences that should have been started a decade ago are finally begun in an era of painful austerity. You thought investment banks were irresponsible, wait until you see how poor the strategy has been at your ISP... (talk) 08:40, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
This immediately makes me wonder what AZ is going to come up with next to top this. I have a theory that they have a contest to see who can legislate the craziest thing. Cow...Hammertime! 15:30, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Would it be just too silly to ask if this is against the First Ammendment??--WickerGuy (talk) 18:59, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Given it has nothing to do with the Free exercise of religion, speech, press, association and assembly/petition, yes.il'Dictator Mikal 19:02, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
exactly. no one is saying a scientist cannot give better numbers, or complain that the state isn't using better numbers. However, where it might be a problem is that a larger governmental unit is telling a smaller govt unit how to conduct local business. That would depend on each state's constution.Green mowse.pngGodotWhen I graduated, Cognative Science of Religion didn't even exist! now it's everywhere 19:50, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Please someone restore mine mop and bucket (for a few days)

As above. 04:14, 31 May 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

If you like. Peter with added ‼Science‼ 04:16, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I do not mean to complain but when I left I turned in a Dirt Master 4000 mop head on an aluminum shafted, nylon head-holder, the one I got just now is from Walmart and smells like scotch and vomit. C®ackeЯ
I take that back, I DO mean to complain. C®ackeЯ 04:24, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Talk to somebody from management to sort you out. Peter with added ‼Science‼ 04:38, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Uh, Lamborn, you are the management. Nihilist 04:54, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
No, that's the mods. Peter with added ‼Science‼ 04:55, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Costumer service takes your complaints ver seriously, please stay on hold.--il'Dictator Mikal 04:57, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Out here in the wastelands, there are no mods. Nihilist 04:58, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

A shill buys his soul back

It looks like notorious denialist Michael Fumento decided the money isn't worth it. It's either a David Brock moment or an elaborate troll. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:56, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Feh. Another lifelong Republican has a Dr. Frankenstein moment where he realises the monster he's spent his career helping to create actually isn't very nice. And like all his fellows he doesn't have even a decent sense of shame enough to be apologetic for it. It's not his fault after all, who could have predicted that spreading misinformation to appeal to racists, religious fundamentalists and other such like-minded crazies could possibly ever come back to bite you? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 11:30, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

This is awful

Teen survivors of American religious brainwashing camps speak

Is it true? Have we got an article on it? Proxima Centauri (talk) 15:12, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

While "brainwashing" camps exist, this article is mostly BS. It is fully illegal to do the things described in this article/blog. If any camp is reported for doing them, they would be shut down instantly - any time children are housed away from teh home, they are regulated and monitored. Does it happen some time and some where underground? Sure. Gay's have known for a while that some of the 'reform' camps are hideous. But it is not anything standard, accepted, or normal. It may or may not be worth an article, but realize it's like writing an article on the guy who ate someone's face. True, but isolated and illegal, not indicative of anything normal. doesn't mean such an article is not warranted, though.--Green mowse.pngGodotWhen I graduated, Cognative Science of Religion didn't even exist! now it's everywhere 15:21, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Their claims do seem a bit suspect to me. I'd like to see actual evidence instead of anecdotes. Nihilist 15:24, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
In many US states, religions are exempt from most of the child welfare regulations. While I wouldn't like to say definitely this is true, I wouldn't bank on there being any inspections to prevent what amounts to child abuse going on there, or there even being laws against it. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 17:11, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I would ask you to prove that. Cause I have never heard any situation where a law allows a group *other than the parent* to do any of these kinds of treatments, religious or not. And frankly, I've never heard of parents being allowed to do it. Locking a child into isolation is a crime, regardless of your religious views, because it harms the child. Prolonged denial of food (no one is saying you can't say to your child "I cooked brocolli, eat it, or don't eat") is abuse; it doesn't matter what state or religion you are in. So, like i said, i'm highly dubious. does it go on, likely. is it at all common or legal, no. --Green mowse.pngGodotWhen I graduated, Cognative Science of Religion didn't even exist! now it's everywhere 17:24, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not so much a case of whether they're exempt as whether when it comes to court after the fact they manage to get off because of their religion. There are two contrasting cases that stick in my mind. The first involved parents involved in the Christian Science movement who basically allowed their child to die because they were busy praying. The second invovled parents with a strict vegan lifestyle whose child died of malnutrition, obstensibly because of their lifestyle. In the former case, the parents were fairly unremorseful and quite proud of their faith, as were the lawyers putting it before the judge. In the latter case, the prosecutor actually shouted "they're not vegans, they're baby killers!" - I seriously doubt you'd get "they're not Christians, they're baby killers!" said in other circumstances. Scarlet A.pngmoral 17:28, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
If true, it is child abuse and their shouldn't even be a judicial process of arresting these people, a trial afterwards yes, but nothing beforehand (I say this not comming from the judicial side of things, but from the idealistic side of things). But what is even sadder is that there are parents who would do such a thing. Just because your child has a conflicting view, you send it away for two years? These are the same people that go all hysteric when somebody says big business should change it's attitude, but they send their own child to what boils down to mixture of reeducational facility and a gulag? You know what, whatever society produces such people in masses has a real problem lying underneath. --Raga Man (talk) 17:58, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm all for being skeptical, but don't the allegations warrant investigation? How many kids need to post a story like something like this before we say, "Oh, maybe!"? Think about the corresponding child abuse investigations re: Joe Paterno, the RCC, etc...how many is "enough"? -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:37, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Instead of sending their kids to brainwashing camp, why don't they do something nicer, like send them to cheerleading camp? ♥♥Alyssa Bryant♥♥Leave me a note 17:32, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

I see what you did there. -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:37, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

In a few parts of the UK they teach atheism to school kids.

  1. PRIMARY school children in Blackburn are to be taught atheism. And surprise, surprise a Roman Catholic Priest doesn't like that. Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:43, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
  2. Anger over call to teach children atheism in school
  3. Why Philip Pullman wants to teach children about atheism
School sponsored athiesm is a little bad sounding to my ears; as much as school sponsored religion is. --il'Dictator Mikal 16:47, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
In the USA there is the tradition of teaching neither religion nor atheism officially. In the UK the tradition is to teach religion, in faith schools Christianity or some other faith is given priority. Teaching atheism as well as religion is an improvement overteaching religion only. Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:51, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Serious question. how do you "teach" atheism. There is nothing to teach. one sentence and you are done. "some people don't believe this". --Green mowse.pngGodotWhen I graduated, Cognative Science of Religion didn't even exist! now it's everywhere 16:55, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
As Andy Parsons on Mock The Week said (this is old news, because it's from a fairly old MTW) "kids are apparently going to be given lessons in atheism. That'll be a short lesson; 'there is no God, see you next week.'" In fact, there's some good documentaries in the BBC for schools section on it, I think we even discussed one a while back on RW. But really, "being taught atheism" and "being taught about atheism" are two different things. Now, I may have been out of school a while and not had an RE lesson since 2001, but it's always been learning about religions and philosophies. In fact, I really only enjoyed it at high school where I did one year of it and we actually discussed philsophical concepts such as ethics and morality. But, you know, since when did the people who want to enforce teach Christianity to all our children want them to learn about other possibilities? Scarlet A.pngmoral 17:03, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

I think it's good that they teach kids about religion and atheism. I do think they should teach both fairly and neutrally and let the kids decide with an open mind. Alyssa Bryant (talk) 17:16, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. They are teaching stuff like how to be moral as an atheist and that is more important than just saying that some people don't believe it.
  2. They are teaching what terms like atheist and agnostic mean and that is more valuable than saying that some people don't believe it.
  3. They are teaching school students how to evaluate arguments and that is more valuable than saying that some people don't believe it.
    RE studies 'should cover atheism'. Proxima Centauri (talk) 17:20, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
But children could be confused! WHY WON'T YOU THINK OF THE CHILDREN?! Nihilist 17:38, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
In all my life, I have never met a child that was confused about two adults having a differing opinions. If anything they were interested in what those sides were.
Imagine a child never having seen two adults with differing opinions: their parents always had the exact same idea what's for dinner the next day, their parents always had the exact same idea what to buy, they never had arguments over rather you are allowed to watch that movie or not, never could there have been any discussion with the neighbours, or relatives, the workplace of either parent has to be in absolute harmony, because sooner or later parents talk about there jobs during a meal. Never in their whole life have they heard a "but", "or", "instead of" or any contraction putting two sentences up against each other. Never have they heard that ever was there something different in history. You could not read them huge portions of the NT because people disagree with Jebus all the time. You would have to say that nothing was ever thought of differently than it is right now. You wouldn't be allowed to teach them about anything other than what they are used to. No teaching about other religions or processes of thought. No other countries or languages. Those kids would not be able to survive in society. "What? There are two different companies that made pepper? But I thought the one we always had in exactly that portion we always had was the only way everybody did it. Now there are two sorts? What if one tastes much better or completely different from the other? Mommy, Daddy help me please!" --Raga Man (talk) 18:18, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
People like Ed Poor that frequent 12chan "think" of us children. ♥♥Alyssa Bryant♥♥Leave me a note 17:56, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
It’s not only Christians who have a problem with children and young people learning about atheism. Suppose religion declines as fast as Daniel Dennett hopes. Then that could harm academics in Departments of Religious Studies at universities etc. Funding for such departments will be harder to obtain so few young students or graduates will be attracted to that field. We will be treated to the spectacle of aging academics competing for ever fewer posts in shrinking departments. Academics in Departments of Religious Studies should consider learning some other area of social science while they are still young enough to learn a new field. Proxima Centauri (talk) 18:02, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Religion has been around since the beginning of human history, so to think that it's going to disappear is like thinking that music is going to disappear. ♥♥Alyssa Bryant♥♥Leave me a note 18:06, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Dennett doesn't suggest that religion will disappear soon. I think in 40 years there could be a non religious majority in the United States as there is in the UK and Sweden today. Proxima Centauri (talk) 18:10, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
In 2006, he said religion would be virtually gone, and not as we know it in TEN years. that's soon. BS, but soon. --Green mowse.pngGodotWhen I graduated, Cognative Science of Religion didn't even exist! now it's everywhere 20:30, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Academic hits out at atheism in our schools Quotes from the new atheists
Children to study atheism at school These articles have more about how atheism can be taught in schools. The first is a Christian objecting to teaching atheismProxima Centauri (talk) 18:22, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Religion will never disappear, change forms yes, but never go away.il'Dictator Mikal 18:44, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
There is a whole LOT to teach about the history of atheism. It's a cultural movement as well as a philosophical position. And if old religions die, radically different ones may take their place.--WickerGuy (talk) 19:04, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Sure, as long as there's something out there we don't know everything about, someone is going to claim a god of the gaps. But it's definitely conceivable that eventually religious belief will decline to the point where religious studies are under history departments, with religions themselves explained in a completely historical context (just as we do with 'dead' religions today). Q0 (talk) 19:24, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
also not going to happen. il'Dictator Mikal 19:26, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Not with that attitude, buddy! Q0 (talk) 20:13, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't think religion has to never go away -- but stupidity and irrationality in general probably never will. Nihilist 20:25, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Ever read foundation? Thats how new religions arise in an age where we are a interstellar species; beyond that just because we can explain something doesn't mean people will abandon religions; theres enough liberal branches of religions that can survive with science; and then, like nihl said, more non sciency will also survive. --il'Dictator Mikal 20:29, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Question there — and an honest one at that — when you both talk about religion, what do you mean? Would humanism (every person in born with rights) qualify, or would it have to be some sort of adherence to supernatural phenomena? --Raga Man (talk) 20:48, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
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