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Comment author: drethelin 10 July 2014 01:12:05PM 2 points [-]

I think you're confusing "responding to a point someone is trying to make" and "making fun of someone".

Maybe the average progressive has neither the power or the inclination to put me in a gulag but the side of things that they historically have lent their power and rhetoric to sure does. I don't feel it's particularly likely to happen in the near future but I also recognize that no one seemed to have predicted the outcome ahead of time the last time.

Or to put it another way: Stalinists are on a continuum with progressives. They are not a different kind of thing.

Comment author: V_V 30 July 2014 10:03:33PM *  1 point [-]

Or to put it another way: Stalinists are on a continuum with progressives. They are not a different kind of thing.

I'm not sure what you mean by "progressives", but it seems to me that "liberals" or "social-democrats" are actually closer to libertarians in terms of personal freedoms, while Soviet-style socialists are closer to fascists and theocrats on these issues.

The political spectrum has at least two dimensions: personal freedoms and economic freedoms.

Comment author: army1987 06 July 2014 04:21:49PM *  0 points [-]

Socialist regimes killed more people than nazi regimes.

Per unit time per capita or totally?

Also, the ones the Nazis killed were better ;-)

<gd&r>

Comment author: V_V 30 July 2014 09:23:45PM *  1 point [-]

Per unit time per capita or totally?

I think that the Khmer Rouge hold the per capita record, and the Soviets (*) the total one. Dunno about per unit time.

( * I'm not counting the Great Chinese Famine, since it was apparently caused by incompetence rather than deliberate malice.)

In response to comment by V_V on Alpha Mail
Comment author: Chef 26 July 2014 03:12:35PM 0 points [-]

Sure, but if I believe that aliens in a multiverse outside of our own happened to create a simulation that is our universe, does that constitute God in any sense intended by religion? Theism requires that the God has an active role in the creations lives, not simply a belief in a creator - omnipotent or not. The only religion I can think of that mention aliens in doctrine is Scientology. And while I'm sure that most people would allow for Scientology as a religion, I'm pretty sure that with a hundred thousand people arranging the following list of religions based on best to worst religious beliefs, my bet is on scientology coming in dead last.

Christianity, Jainism, Sikh, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology, Judaism, Zoroastrian, Shinto, Wicca.

Which doesn't say anything about the actual validity of those religions, just that the majority of people would probably view a religion steeped in aliens to be less like a religion than the others.

In response to comment by Chef on Alpha Mail
Comment author: V_V 26 July 2014 08:37:18PM 0 points [-]

Aliens from other planets are one thing, the sort of thing weird low-status UFO cultists believe.

"Aliens" from outside our universe, who happened to have created it, and maybe even want to have a personal relationship with us (otherwise why would they try to send messages encoded in alpha?) are gods under another name.

..., Hinduism ...

Do you know where the word "avatar" comes from?

In response to comment by V_V on Alpha Mail
Comment author: Chef 26 July 2014 03:29:11PM 0 points [-]

Just so we are clear...I don't believe in God in any religious sense. I think that increasingly science views the universe in terms of information and so we should examine the idea that information built into our universe may contain clues to or a communication channel for other life trying to communicate. I personally can't think of too many ways that life outside of our universe could communicate with us but find the idea to be interesting if not a stretch. I do understand it's a slippery slope as evidenced by things like the Bible Code where recursive search yields anything we want to find. We could then just use all kinds of banal natural processes as evidence of God (intelligent design).

In response to comment by Chef on Alpha Mail
Comment author: V_V 26 July 2014 08:27:04PM 1 point [-]

I don't believe in God in any religious sense.

You sure?

It seems to me that there are people who profess religious beliefs but are effectively atheists when it comes to beliefs revealed by their behaviours, and conversely people who profess atheism but buy into to various religious-like ideas and ideologies.
This isn't necessarily due to deliberate dishonesty: religious beliefs (or lack of thereof) often become signals of allegiance to social groups.

I personally can't think of too many ways that life outside of our universe could communicate with us but find the idea to be interesting if not a stretch.

I dunno, pulsing gamma bursts according to a sequence of prime numbers encoded in binary?

Anyway, the point of science is finding the simplest hypotheses that explain our observations. Intelligent gods (designers, programmers, etc.) are complex hypotheses. Thus we don't resort to them unless we ruled out everything simpler.

In response to comment by V_V on Too good to be true
Comment author: gwern 25 July 2014 07:11:13PM 0 points [-]

Why do you think it changed, and in the early 1990s specifically? (The original study I posted only examined '90s papers and so couldn't show any time-series like that, so it can't be why you think that.)

In response to comment by gwern on Too good to be true
Comment author: V_V 25 July 2014 08:59:00PM 2 points [-]

I suppose that before the 1990s respectable Soviet scientists published primarily in Russian.

In response to Alpha Mail
Comment author: V_V 25 July 2014 09:46:02AM 5 points [-]

Parsimony.

Even if the fine-structure constant can indeed vary (which is something I intuitively find unlikely by anthropic reasoning, as it would pretty much screw up chemistry as we know it), god (or "intelligent designer" or "simulation programmer", if you prefer) isn't the simplest explanation for it.

In response to comment by buybuydandavis on Alpha Mail
Comment author: Chef 24 July 2014 10:48:52PM 1 point [-]

I wholeheartedly agree. I had a professor (a former priest) who thought it was absurd that I was willing to use the term creator but unwilling to admit a God. To his dogma they are one and the same. But for me, even if a creator has the power to pull the plug on this experiment, my current thinking doesn't allow omnipotence in the sense used by most theists. And I can't imagine that a creator in this context has the ability to hear our thoughts, respond to daily minutia, or has any interest in dictating morality to a bunch of bits in a hard drive.

In response to comment by Chef on Alpha Mail
Comment author: V_V 25 July 2014 09:39:39AM 1 point [-]

God or gods aren't necessarily omnipotent in all religions.
Just because you don't believe in textbook Catholicism it doesn't mean that you are an atheist.

Comment author: private_messaging 21 July 2014 05:29:12AM *  1 point [-]

This is almost mystical wording.

There's something that just didn't get conveyed: English language. That paper, with it's idiot finding, was looking at the studies downloaded from Medline and presumably published in English, or at least with an English abstract (the search was done for English terms and no translation efforts were mentioned).

As long as researchers retain freedom to either write their study up in English or not there's going to be an additional publication-in-a-very-foreign-language bias.

With regards to acupuncture, one thing that didn't happen, is soviet union being full of acupuncture centres and posters about awesomeness of acupuncture everywhere on the walls, something that would have happened if there was indeed such a high prevalence of positive findings in locally available literature.

Comment author: V_V 25 July 2014 09:27:50AM 1 point [-]

As long as researchers retain freedom to either write their study up in English or not there's going to be an additional publication-in-a-very-foreign-language bias.

As a rule of thumb, I would say that any research published after the early 1990s in a language other than English is most likely crap.

Comment author: knb 22 July 2014 06:59:26PM 1 point [-]

Or maybe Europe finally learned the lessons of 1914 (i.e. not to start an apocalyptic war over relatively trivial matters.)

Comment author: V_V 23 July 2014 09:35:13AM 1 point [-]

Europe could either side with Ukraine and boycott the Russian natural gas, at a huge cost, or side with Russia and force Ukraine into submission by political and economic isolation, effectively rewarding the Russian expansionist attitudes.
Looks like a catch-22 scenario.

Or Europe could just do nothing, except maybe avoiding to fly its planes on top of the war zone, which is pretty much what is actually happening now.

It doesn't look like there is an easy solution to this problem.
After all, if politics was easy it wouldn't be politics.

In response to comment by V_V on Too good to be true
Comment author: Douglas_Knight 14 July 2014 02:32:00PM 2 points [-]

Quoting authorities without further commentary is a dick thing to do. I am going to spend more words speculating about the intention of the quote than are in the quote, let alone that you bothered to type.

I have no idea what you think is relevant about that passage. It says exactly what I said, except transformed from the effect size scale to the p-value scale. But somehow I doubt that's why you posted it. The most common problem in the comments on this thread is that people confuse false positive rate with false negative rate, so my best guess is that you are making that mistake and thinking the passage supports that error (though I have no idea why you're telling me). Another possibility, slightly more relevant to this subthread, is that you're pointing out that some people use other p-values. But in medicine, they don't. They almost always use 95%, though sometimes 90%.

Comment author: V_V 20 July 2014 03:37:02PM 0 points [-]

My confusion is about "at least" vs. "exactly". See my answer to Cyan.

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