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Religion / Philosophy Talk / Re: Are you an antitheist?
« Last post by Mr. Beagle on Today at 06:10:18 PM »
I still find it interesting that avowed atheists believe so much in the "power of God" to direct people's lives.
Eh?

Atheists seem to need to single out "religion" as somehow different from other mind-altering ideologies for special fear and loathing. If there is no God, then this only a type of "mind game" for people who ascribe to the ideology. In that sense, it is no different from any other unquestioned ideology.

My point is that atheists who place "religious people" into some special category are making a "category error." There are as many exceptions as there are people "in your ascribed box."

My longstanding example is the comparison of a male Baptist from Alabama to a female Episcopalian from Massachusetts. Both might describe themselves as "religious," or even "very religious", indeed "Christian" in particular (I know one such female Episcopalian minister from Massachusetts). Yet it would be difficult to find ONE religious, social, political or scientific concept in current debate upon which the two would clearly agree with one another.

But only the Baptist from Alabama would typically be destined in the media, or by many atheist writers, as "Christian/religious." That's a "category error."
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Granted that W.C. Fields made comments

"Don't you know that fish fuck in that stuff?"
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I caught the Heisenberg/uncertainty piece, did I miss something on the Bohr side?
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What does it actually mean to say that "his memory centers are intact"?

By what technique do neurologists determine the condition of a patient's "memory centers," and how accurately can that determination be made?
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Tech Talk / Re: Cryptocurrency
« Last post by daniel1948 on Today at 06:01:46 PM »
And the inherent exorbitant energy requirement of blockchain is why nobody has yet to use it for anything but creating speculative bubbles that can (temporarily) justify the cost of all that energy. And why I don't believe anybody ever will.

What benefits of a distributed ledger can justify the cost of the energy needed to build and sustain it? Banking transactions are so much cheaper that only the demands for privacy of the black market, or the hope of speculative profits, or the illiteracy of the anti-money wackaloon fringe, can justify the cost of Bitcoin and its imitators.
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Well, it's the height of hubris to assert that our understanding of science is infallible and rule out any suggestion that something that contradicts that understanding.

Indeed, but I've never said that either. And nobody's coming to these forums making threads about "glitches in the Matrix" because they're too trusting of science.


A scientific mind is an open mind.

Perhaps it's more like a "semi-permeable mind." Science is driven by data and experiment, not by dreaming up fantastic explanations for mundane occurrences.


You don't want to replace religious doctrine with a blind adherence to our current understanding of the laws of physics.

I absolutely do not want to do that, and I've never advocated for such.

But it's a terrible idea to go around telling people that science is basically just fairy tales.
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General Discussion / Weird stuff with the SGU book on Amazon UK
« Last post by macronencer on Today at 05:33:35 PM »
I've just received the SGU book from Amazon UK, and I'm confused, to say the least.

This is the book I pre-ordered (in April) and received today - and I paid £20.27 for it:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1538760533/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage

But now I see that this one is for sale for £13.29:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skeptics-Guide-Universe-Really-Increasingly/dp/1473696399/ref=sr_1_1

Amazon usually charge the lowest price if the price changes following a pre-order. I’m now worried that I may have pre-ordered a different version of the book, and not contributed to the sales figures as I would have wanted. I hope my purchase counts. I also see that the book I ordered is now only available from Marketplace sellers (what?)

I’m not all that bothered about paying the extra money and it’s really a moot point because I’ve immediately decided to order another copy for my son anyway so I’ve ordered the cheaper one of course. But I would like an explanation of why I ended up with a different cover, and a reassurance that my copy of the book is the official final version! Are there any differences? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Thanks!
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Tech Talk / Re: Cryptocurrency
« Last post by John Albert on Today at 05:25:09 PM »
"Brute force cryptography" is not a common technical term. It's just a snarky thing I said.

Though it may have been sarcastic, it was based on a core truth about blockchain's security model, which is predicated upon "reverse-hashing" the SHA-256 cryptographic hash algorithm.

It's a security model built upon leveraging overwhelming computational power to secure the transaction processing and block writing. It does this by requiring all of its transaction authorities (called "miners" in Bitcoin argot) to brute-force an SHA-256 hash that's been arbitrarily calculated to be very difficult, until one of them achieves a 'collision' (legitimate solution to the hash). At that point, the system considers the node to be authentic and adds its ledger data to the blockchain.

I called it "brute force cryptography" because amassing overwhelming computational power to brute force the hash is the lynchpin of the 'trustless' security model. Without any cryptographic keys issued by a trusted root authority, the decentralized system relies on the overwhelming computational power of the masses as the basis of its security.

That's why it's so wasteful of energy. While Bitcoin may be even more wasteful than necessary to ensure security, the entire model it's based on is necessarily wasteful by design. It is not an elegant solution by any means. It's clunky and wasteful and destructive and polluting and probably unsustainable. And that's the system that's used by all the cryptocurrencies out there, as far as I'm aware.

If there are other implementations of blockchain that don't rely on that "brute force" model, I'd like to learn the basic technique of how they're doing it. But if they're relying on some central root authority to issue keys or mediate transactions, then I fail to see the point of using a blockchain in the first place. The whole point of blockchain is to achieve decentralized, distributed functionality while defeating the Byzantine fault problem. If they're claiming it's a new tech breakthrough using blockchain but keeping the details secret as a 'black box,' that's suspicious af.

Of course my skepticism could very likely be a consequence of the limits of my own imagination and technical knowledge about the subject, but I have yet to see an explanation for new blockchain tech that makes sense to me.
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First of all, there is no "external world, so there is no such thing as "external reality."  There is just the world, and the reality is that QM makes accurate predictions.  It accurately describes the small-scale world.

I don't know. Take it up with Bohr and Heisenberg

I probably can’t get in touch with Bohr; I‘m uncertain about Heisenberg as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Well played, sir.

Thanks!  I was becoming worried that that would go completely unnoticed!
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General Discussion / Re: Open carry...
« Last post by SkeptiQueer on Today at 05:11:16 PM »
To The Latinist:

What might work better...

“Wow, Skeptiqueer! I honestly did not recall any forum member taking such an extreme position.

Thanks for pointing that out, and I stand corrected.”

Or, dig in further, I guess. Your choice.

But I don't think he took an extreme position.  He expressed a personal preference and took a moderate position. That's not the same thing, and it is not right to pretend it is.

exactly, it was also from 2 years ago and I say in the first sentence I don't think it would ever happen. Yet SQ makes it sounds like I'm plotting  to take away every gun ever made it and that this kind of stance common across the forum. If so why go so far back to find a quote? Advocating implies a proactive stance, admitting it will never happen, is not that.

I said people on this forum have advocated that position. I'mnot trying to say it's common to the forum, I'm saying the viewpoint exists. It's probably as common as "child prostitutes should be able to buy their heroin and machinegun with no issues" is.

Whether you think it's likely doesn't have bearing on whether you've voiced support for it publicly. If this were something you didn't support I don't think you would split that same hair. When Jordan Peterson says that Christian patriarchy is the best thing for society, but sadly it's too late and won't happen he's still advocating for that position.

If you have changed or don't think it's good policy, say so. If you do, stop trying to put words in my mouth and stand by what you said instead of putting words in my mouth to do a half-assed denial. You said it and meant it, or you said it and didn't mean it, you changed your mind, whatever. Just pick one instead of trying to weasel around the word "advocating" as if you're embarrassed by what you said.
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