Recent Posts

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91
And the point of my earlier argument was that, if there is life there, we shouldn't need to explore every nook and cranny of the subsurface ocean: I sould expect evidence of its presence to be present pretty much everywhere.
92
We need a probe to go to Europa (and Enceladus) and bring back samples of ocean water. But even if we did that, maybe the critters would not survive the trip. We could send people to actually look at the water there, but maybe the critters would not survive being brought up from the depths. So we need to send people with a submarine so they could go down into the oceans and look at the water under a microscope. But maybe the critters would stop moving when we shine the light on them and we would think they were just lifeless particles floating in the water.

OTOH, by the time we're able to actually send people to the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, those microbes will have evolved into something that will eat our astronauts and we'll still never know. Until they come here to kick our butts for sending all those submarines to their pristine ocean.
The subsurface liquid is coming to the surface via the vents if that event is being interpreted correctly. If true there's no need to dive for samples. Robotic probes can take samples from the surface, image them in microscopes, and send candidate samples back to Earth on a piggy-back return  "ship". The hitchhiker wouldn't need to be fast or roomy, just get the samples back.
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General Discussion / Re: some thoughts on cultural appropriation
« Last post by Redamare on May 28, 2017, 10:22:16 AM »
I don't know what to think about CA, but I do know that the refusal to entertain hypotheticals, the refusal to provide examples to illustrate "real" CA, and the insistence that not being totally sold on the idea is just as bad as actually committing the transgression are all examples of bad faith arguments.

It's also grossly disrespectful to those of us who disagree or are uncertain about it. We don't deserve to understand what is apparently so obvious to you? Your pearls of wisdom are too precious for the likes of us?

Or maybe it's like Jesus: you have to let the woke-ness into your heart, first, and then the evidence will be revealed?

Anyway, if this is how several different dedicated skeptics defend the concept, the CA doubter is left to assume no better defense exists.

For my part, I am left with my earlier impression that CA technically describes a real thing in a distinctive way, but in practice it muddies the water, short-circuits people's thinking about specific examples, and contributes to both outrage culture and the Oppression Olympics.
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I think we should go back to calling lower back pain lumbago.  "My lumbago is acting up" sounds much cooler than "my lower back hurts."
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Podcast Episodes / Re: Episode #619
« Last post by Zerowantuthri on May 28, 2017, 10:11:18 AM »
"If God fucked up this world so badly, what reason do we have to think that heaven will be any better?" Mark Twain said "Heaven for climate, Hell for society." George Bernard Shaw said that Heaven and Hell are no different than New York and Chicago (not his words) and you can go back and forth as the whim catches you. And I wrote, in my unpublished Gospel of Hiram, "Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps God is a tree frog, and when you die you will find yourself clinging to the top of a very tall tree, terrified of falling out and breaking your bones like pelicans' eggs on the rocks below; and you will cry out, 'Let me down, let me down!' and the sky will open and the voice of God will say to you, 'What do you mean, let you down? You've been GOOD! This is your reward.' "

Wouldn't dog heaven be cat hell?  And cat heaven be mouse hell? (and so on)
96
We need a probe to go to Europa (and Enceladus) and bring back samples of ocean water. But even if we did that, maybe the critters would not survive the trip. We could send people to actually look at the water there, but maybe the critters would not survive being brought up from the depths. So we need to send people with a submarine so they could go down into the oceans and look at the water under a microscope. But maybe the critters would stop moving when we shine the light on them and we would think they were just lifeless particles floating in the water.

OTOH, by the time we're able to actually send people to the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, those microbes will have evolved into something that will eat our astronauts and we'll still never know. Until they come here to kick our butts for sending all those submarines to their pristine ocean.
97
TV & Movies / Re: List of the Not the Very Best TV Shows
« Last post by superdave on May 28, 2017, 10:03:14 AM »
Finished up season 2 of the magicians.  It had some brilliant moments, and I like how the stories compliment the books, but there were too many head scratching moments for this season to end of on the Very Best list. Solid season overall, I give it a B.
98
Podcast Episodes / Re: Episode #620
« Last post by Steven Novella on May 28, 2017, 10:02:41 AM »
Belgarath - Our overall point was that this stunt did not demonstrate that the field was compromised. Only that there are predatory open access journals that will print anything for money.
I did say that if the paper were published in a respected journal in the field, they would at least have something. You would then need to see if this were an aberration, an individual failure, or an inherent problem in the field. As I said, even Sokal had very conservative conclusions from his successful hoax.

Regarding Wakefield, I do think that was a failure of peer-review. But the paper itself was not that bad as written. The Lancet was not aware of the fraud behind the research. Further, the big problem was in the PR after the paper was published. Wakefield used the paper to push his anti-vaccine agenda. It wasn't really in the paper itself.
99
Skepticism / Science Talk / Re: astronomy, Ramadan question
« Last post by daniel1948 on May 28, 2017, 09:59:54 AM »
Note also that cloud cover is uncommon in Arabia. A bigger issue would be that visual observations can never be as precise as astronomical calculations, and depending on the time of day at your local location, it may be very difficult for a visual observer to determine whether first appearance occurred before or after the start of a new day. This would explain why there's only a one day margin of error. If it happens very close to the transition between Tuesday and Wednesday, it will be clear on Monday that it has not happened yet, and clear on Thursday that it already happened. Most months there will be no ambiguity. When there is ambiguity it will be only between two adjacent days.
100
Podcast Episodes / Re: Episode #619
« Last post by daniel1948 on May 28, 2017, 09:48:27 AM »
My friend Jennifer, confronted with arguments like the above, responded, "I'd rather believe that God is not all-powerful than believe that God is not all-love." So, while implicitly admitting that it's a matter of personal belief, rather than knowledge, she openly admits that her God is not all-powerful. That is, her God is well-intentioned but basically has made a colossal mess of things. But, in her theology, God will compensate us for all this suffering by admitting everyone to heaven, without exception. (Love would not create a hell.) But the next question to ask (and I've never asked her this one) is, "If God fucked up this world so badly, what reason do we have to think that heaven will be any better?" Mark Twain said "Heaven for climate, Hell for society." George Bernard Shaw said that Heaven and Hell are no different than New York and Chicago (not his words) and you can go back and forth as the whim catches you. And I wrote, in my unpublished Gospel of Hiram, "Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps God is a tree frog, and when you die you will find yourself clinging to the top of a very tall tree, terrified of falling out and breaking your bones like pelicans' eggs on the rocks below; and you will cry out, 'Let me down, let me down!' and the sky will open and the voice of God will say to you, 'What do you mean, let you down? You've been GOOD! This is your reward.' "
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