Can the Doomsday Argument predict our odds of survival? Looking at it another way, if you start your reasoning by assuming (for no real reason) that it's unlikely that you're one of the first humans, obviously your reasoning is then going to "prove" it's likely that you're one of the middle or last humans. I think the original argument is predicated on a couple of dodgy assumptions, not least of which is that the number of humans would continue to increase exponentially, which has already stopped happening since the time the DA was formulated (total human population is now expected to stabilize at around 10 billion by 2100 or so, then to grow only slowly after that). Just making that one adjustment, the DA argument would push the time for "near" extinction from prior to 10,000 years out to much further (depending on what the rate of growth ends up, it might be 100,000 years or more). The DA also seems to have the implicit assumption that there *is* a "doom" at all (thus two groups, with "doom early" and "doom late").
Why TV News is a Waste of Human Effort: One Example Worth a Trillion Dollars — C. G. P. Grey It’s Simpsons time and Homer’s insightful remark that a trillion dollars is, quote: “a spicy meatball!” In case you didn’t notice, that Simpsons show was about a trillion dollar bill and we are discussing a trillion dollar coin. Picky yes, but the two forms of cash have different laws regarding how they are created. Which isn’t a big deal, it’s just the whole reason the trillion dollar coin story exists in the first place. Now, perhaps, you think I’m complaining too much. Also, there is apparently a law that requires puns in all published TV news segments and at 1:17 we get it: "...an idea getting a lot of currency online" (Emphasis not added, the reporter really leans into that word. But still: 6,000 probably sounds like a lot to people who get their news from TV and have never been on the Internet. Thankfully, the story doesn’t burden us with why this economist thinks it’s a good idea. At 1:28 is the closest we get to an explanation of anything: Has it informed you about anything?
How an early psychiatric treatment lead to widespread mutilation You know, that's a theory I've held for some time now too. I have a friend who is majoring in psychology, he's currently undertaking his Master's courses for it (but is on summer break) and what I find especially interesting is now that he's learned quite a bit he's always busy diagnosing and pointing out the flaws and issues he sees in others. Yet he never turns that around on himself. Then again, I've always been of the belief that people who point out flaws and shortcomings in others are doing so because they themselves are guilty of those very things except they don't want to acknowledge it. It is for all these reasons that I am incapable of being a hypocrite. "It is for all these reasons that I am incapable of being a hypocrite. Lol! I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again. And now that I'm on the topic of brilliance and world domination, how do we not have a post pointing out the awesome thing that is today? I have no idea what you are talking about... SExpand
Eight Toxic Foods: A Little Chemical Education Update: You'll notice in this post that I refer to some sites that the original BuzzFeed article I'm complaining out sends people to, often pointing out that these didn't actually support the wilder claims it's making. Well, the folks at BuzzFeed have dealt with this by taking down the links (!) The article now says: "Some studies linked in the original version of this article were concerning unrelated issues. Many people who read this blog are chemists. But that's what we have the internet for. That doesn't mean that we just have to sit back and let it wash over us, though. This piece really is an education. Number One: Artificial Dyes. Artificial dyes are made from chemicals derived from PETROLEUM, which is also used to make gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and TAR! Emphasis is in the original, of course. It is true, in fact, that many artificial dyes are made from chemicals derived from petroleum. Number Two: Olestra Number Three: Brominated Vegetable Oil. Again with the caps. Ay.
Iowa Youth Pastor Rapes Boys To 'Cure' Them Of Homosexuality, Won't Spend One Day In Prison - By now, we’ve all undoubtedly heard of and been outraged by a Montana judge sentencing a former teacher to a mere 30 days in prison for raping one of his female students. But have you heard of the Iowa youth pastor who is walking free after confessing to raping boys to “cure” them of homosexuality? Well, that’s precisely what happened in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Brent Girouex, 31, was arrested on 60 counts of suspicion of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. According to KRMG in Oklahoma, Girouex confessed to police that he had sex with at least four youths, but eight more have since come forward claiming that they were also violated by the now former pastor of Victory Fellowship Church. Girouex told detectives that his actions were meant to “help with homosexual urges by praying while he had sexual contact with [them]” in order to keep them “sexually pure” for God. Victims say Girouex took them to his own home to violate them. This “rape away the gay” idea is nothing new.
Teenage Jehovah's Witness loses court bid to refuse life-saving blood transfusion Updated Sat 28 Sep 2013, 12:13am AEST A Sydney teenager has lost his bid to refuse a potentially life-saving blood transfusion treatment because he is a Jehovah's Witness. The 17-year-old cancer victim, known only as X, appealed against a NSW Supreme Court order that staff at the Sydney Children's Hospital should be allowed to give him the treatment. He told his doctors he would rip the IV out of his arm if forced to have the transfusion, which he believes is akin to being raped. X is suffering from Hodgkin's disease and his doctors believe he has an 80 per cent chance of dying from anaemia if he does not receive the treatment. In March, Justice Ian Gzell ordered the hospital be allowed to carry out the treatment on the boy, who immediately appealed against the decision. While noting he was highly intelligent, a "mature minor" and devoted to his faith, the judge also found the boy had been "cocooned in that faith" for his entire life.
On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend by Timothy P. Weber BY: Timothy P. Weber Adapted with permission from On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend, by Timothy P. Weber, copyright 2004 Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group. In a recent Time/CNN poll, more than one-third of Americans said that since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, they have been thinking more about how current events might be leading to the end of the world. While only 36 percent of all Americans believe that the Bible is God's Word and should be taken literally, 59 percent say they believe that events predicted in the Book of Revelation will come to pass. Millions of Americans believe that the Bible predicts the future and that we are living in the last days. During times of turmoil and world crisis, many people who ordinarily do not pay the Bible any mind are attentive to Bible teachers who use "signs of the times" to explain where history is headed. Continued on page 2: »
“Integrative medicine”: A brand, not a specialty Author’s note: This post was inspired in part by a post by Wally Sampson entitled Why would medical schools associate with quackery? Or, How we did it. Once upon a time, there was quackery. Long ago, back in the mists of time before many of our current readers were even born and far back in the memory of even our wizened elders of medicine, “quackery” was the preferred term used to refer to ineffective and potentially harmful medical practices not supported by evidence. Not surprisingly, quacks and charlatans did not like this. Although practitioners of alternative medicine liked this term better than the terms “quackery” and “quacks,” they were, not surprisingly, still not satisfied. CAM was (and is) medicine that does not fit into the current scientific paradigm, including treatments that are not supported by evidence and are ineffective and/or potentially harmful. And CAM practitioners did declare that this was indeed good–but not good enough. “Integrative medicine.” CAM is dead? Mr.
Time Cube Time Cube is an incomprehensible hypothesis, created by Gene Ray around 1997, that claims time is cubic. Interpretations vary, as does the exact text of the website, but the core appears to have something to do with the earth passing through four simultaneous days in the course of 24 hours. Ray is also a bit of a conspiracy nut, as evidenced by his assertion that we are taught to be stupid by "evil educators", and that only he knows the truth. It also has something to do with opposites.  Crackpot overdose Time Cube is comparable to many other green ink websites for frothing lunacy value, but was one of the first to come to Internet fame. No one really understands it, especially since the website looks as though Dr. Gene Ray runs three other Time Cube websites – AboveGod.com, The Greatest Thinker and The Wisest Human.  Ultimate weapon  Recurring themes  Four corner day Central to Time Cube is (but of course) the idea of cubic time.  Antipodes/opposites 
Jan. 4, 1903: Edison Fries an Elephant to Prove His Point 1903: Thomas Edison stages his highly publicized electrocution of an elephant in order to demonstrate the dangers of alternating current, which, if it posed any immediate danger at all, was to Edison's own direct current. Edison had established direct current at the standard for electricity distribution and was living large off the patent royalties, royalties he was in no mood to lose when George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla showed up with alternating current. Edison's aggressive campaign to discredit the new current took the macabre form of a series of animal electrocutions using AC (a killing process he referred to snidely as getting "Westinghoused"). Stray dogs and cats were the most easily obtained, but he also zapped a few cattle and horses. This portion of Edison's film Electrocuting an Elephant is taken from a German television show. When the day came, Topsy was restrained using a ship's hawser fastened on one end to a donkey engine and on the other to a post. (Source: Various)
ISIS Have Opened Two Theme Parks For Young Children It is a far cry from Disneyland - but these are the two theme parks that Islamic State has established to entertain children living under its tyrannical regime. The parks, situated in the Iraqi city of Fallujah and the Syrian city of Raqqa, were reportedly opened last week to mark the celebration of Eid. In a series of photos, young revellers appear to enjoying a series of rides - including spinning teacups, a big wheel and a miniature train line. But their supposed enjoyment is a contrast to the bombed out scene in the background - which acts as a startling reminder of the horrific reality. In Raqqa’s ‘Ride City’, children were seen to enjoy rides on a dangerous looking rusty swings. The photos are just the latest in a series released by the terror group’s media wing - which is known for releasing slick, produced videos and photographs of the group’s brutal day to day actions. Also Read
Roko's basilisk Roko's basilisk is a thought experiment about the potential risks involved in developing artificial intelligence. The experiment's premise is that an all-powerful artificial intelligence from the future could retroactively punish those who did not help bring about its existence; even those who merely knew about the possibility of such a being coming into existence incur the risk of punishment. It resembles a futurist version of Pascal's wager, in that it suggests people should weigh possible punishment versus reward and as a result accept particular singularitarian ideas or donate money to support their development. It is named after the member of the rationalist community LessWrong who described it, though he did not originate the underlying ideas.  Summary  The Basilisk Roko's Basilisk rests on a stack of several other propositions, generally of dubious robustness. Why would it do this?  He also called removing Roko's post "a huge mistake".  Background 
ScreamingDeerSoul comments on Law Enforcement Analyst Dumbfounded as Media Rummages Through House of Suspected Terrorists