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 Author Thread: Why do most people think aliens are friendly?
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 12 (view)
Why do most people think aliens are friendly?
Posted: 7/6/2009 8:18:03 PM
peaceful68: "More importantly, why do people presume that they don't exist?"

The Fermi Paradox. By the calculations there is a high probability of the existence of ET interstellar civiliations but we have detected no sign of these. So, one solution to the Fermi Paradox is that ETs don't exist. If they did, then we would see signs of them or been visited (even by sublight vessels).

There are other possible answers to the Fermi Paradox:

But you don't need to go into any psychological reasons to account for people who don't think other sapient extraterrestrial species exist.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 11 (view)
Why do most people think aliens are friendly?
Posted: 7/6/2009 8:11:41 PM
mtloophiker: "ANY race technologically advanced enough to have interplanetary space travel is *not* gonna require or want *anything* that we have. "

Not necessarily true. They may require our real estate. Whether extraterrestrial sapient species are friendly or not depnds on a lot of things we don't know:
1. Their biology.
2. Their evolutionary history.
3. Their society.
4. The number of inhabitable planets available.

One of the possible answers to the Fermi Paradox (where are the interstellar civilizations?) is the Predator Hypothesis. In this scenario one predatory species gets dominance and keeps it by destroying all possible competitors.

OTOH, any species that gets interstellar travel (particularly at sublight speeds) requires a huge industrial base. To get that technologically advanced, they probably had wars on their own planet during history. Therefore they know the cost of wars. Plus, they would be a LONG way from home in terms of resupply. But OTOH, if there are few available planets and their biology is such that they cannot control population, survival as a species means that they have to take whatever real estate they can.

We simply don't know enough to make any definitive statements on the subject. It may have been a mistake to put the message on the Voyager spacecraft. OTOH, our radio and TV signals have been going out into space since 1936 or so, and they travel at lightspeed, far faster than the spacecraft. So any ETs out there, friendly or hostile, is going to find out about us anyway. So the message can't do any harm if the ETs are hostile (the message can't make them more hostile) and may help if the ETs are friendly.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 29 (view)
Why aren't there more women involved in math and science?
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:58:11 PM
hereshecomesagain: "Saying girls want to apply their intuition to their work day and men want to apply their brute force of body or logic is also true. Science doesn't like intuition."

Science loves intuition. Theory formation is a creative process. Theories are NOT digests of data or logic. They are imaginative leaps that are put forward, THEN tested.

All the female graduate students we've put out in the last 10 years have all gotten jobs in their field.

"Chemistry was as easy as cooking to me. I was a natural cook. I'd change formulas with a little tweak here and there because I knew that room temperature and humidity and age of the product affected the outcome. No, that's bad, better to get a failed result by following the instructions to the letter."

You had some REALLY BAD science teachers. I take it this was in high school or college? At the graduate school level, any mentor would have loved to have you in his/her lab.

However, it is important to document the changes to the protocol. Remember, the protocol is a means of testing a hypothesis, not a means to get the "right" answer. Science works by falsifying and, if the protocol is correct but you get a "failed result", what you have done is FALSIFY the hypothesis you are testing. That's what science does. By your brief description, it sounds like you were considering what are called "confounding variables" or "underlying hypotheses" -- that temperature and humidity are going to affect the outcome.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 23 (view)
In nature, can sub-optimal be optimal ?
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:48:38 PM
abelian: "Nature works by not ``doing'' anything. Therefore, in nature, optimal means the simplest thing that works. "

Not often. Evolution is constrained by history. Sometimes the "simplest" thing is not available due the constraints of natural selection. Examples:

1. The Panda's thumb. All bears have thumbs. But in the ancestors of bears all the digits, including the thumb, became fused to form one inflexible paw. In that lifestyle, bears did not need to grasp objects. But the Panda has a different lifestyle and needs to grasp bamboo -- its food. The "simplest" thing would be to unfuse the existing thumb so it could be used for grasping. But that's not possible. So the Panda has a complex makeshift of an elongatee wrist bone.

2. Natural selection is very good at adding information but very poor at subtracting it. Thus, whenever a finer level of control is needed -- particularly at the molecular level -- natural selection adds another level of control. This adds complexity. The blood clotting system is a very good example. A simpler system might work better now, because many of the components counteract other components. It would be "simpler" to just have less of the components. But natural selection can't do that, so instead it adds a layer of complexity. Another example of this is teeth and baleen in baleen whales. The simplest thing would be for the whale to just make baleen. But instead, all baleen whales make teeth only to have them resorbed after they are made. That's because the ancestor was toothed and natural selection can't eliminate the developmental program to make teeth; it can only add information to resorb the teeth.

What natural selection goes for is "good enough". Sometimes, only the optimal system is "good enough". But most of the time, something less than optimal is good enough.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 50 (view)
If it's true that matter can neither be created nor destroyed...
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:37:08 PM
cometchc "wouldn't it mean all living things (including us) turn into some other kind of energy when they die? "

Or some other form of matter. And we do. We become food for scavengers, worms and microbes. Our proteins, DNA, starches, and fat are broken down to amino acids, nucleotides, sugars, and lipids. These are either converted to energy + carbon dioxide + water by other life forms or incorporated into the proteins, DNA, etc. of the other life form.

Any part of our body not used for food is slowly oxidized to carbon dioxide + water (+ ammonia) and this releases heat (a form of energy).
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 22 (view)
In nature, can sub-optimal be optimal ?
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:31:37 PM
rug doctor: " Presupposing that some kinds of fish orient themselves with the other fish, would an individual possessing less than optimal ability in that skill, have "natural leadership potential" and perhaps thereby either the individual or the group may gain in some way ? "

In this example, no. The reason fish "school" is to help avoid predators. With the predator faced with huge number of potential targets, the odds that the predator will select YOU goes down. So selection picks fish that are best at getting in the middle of the school and less likely to be snatched by a predator -- who will get a fish at the edge of the school. A "leader" is, by definition, at the head of the school and thus out on the edge.

There are only a VERY few examples of "group selection" (like 2). And there is no "species" selection. The unit OF selection is the individual, not the group. Even the known examples of "group" selection work because they are in microbes where the mutation rate is VERY low. Otherwise the speed of individual selection is so much faster than group selection that it overwhelms any tendency to group selection.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 21 (view)
In nature, can sub-optimal be optimal ?
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:26:28 PM
rug doctor: "Take approach velocity in predators. If an animal is built for high velocity hunting, I would therefore assume that the highest velocity attainable through that body shape is the optimal scenario for attacking prey."

Remember, for every benefit there is a cost. In your example, it takes a LOT of energy to get the "highest velocity attainable". In fact, if you plot velocity on the x axis and energy on the y-axis you will get an asympotic curve. It curves up nearly vertical as velocity increases. At some point the energy attained from the prey will not replace the energy expended to get the velocity.

So ... natural selection balances these 2 qualities -- catching the prey and energy expenditure -- and COMPROMISES on just enough speed to catch the prey. And no more.

Natural selection does compromising on basically every trait and does it very well. Better than humans do when they design, in fact. It's one reason humans use natural selection to do designing when the design problem is too tough for them.

Just remember: COST. That will allow you to solve the paradoxes you see in natural selection.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 15 (view)
Should I Really Believe this?
Posted: 7/6/2009 7:19:09 PM
He's trying to get into your pants, what else? For him, having 2 girlfriends is fun, and you take a lot of abuse. Waiting 4 HOURS for him! Several times! And you never decked him for this? Unless he's REALLY good in bed and that's all you want from him, dump him. He's a player.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 4 (view)
Need advice please!!!!!!!!
Posted: 7/5/2009 3:05:26 PM
Women rarely think guys have any fashion sense. And women traditionally have been very good about subtly changing guys on this. But it will be a project that takes YEARS. You will have to decide how to be subtle. Instead of "taking him" shopping, just be sure you go with him the next time he goes shopping. Not to help him shop, but because you like being with him. And then you can suggest things, probably telling him how good he'll look in that. Explain WHY he will look good so sometime when he's shopping on his own he'll make the "right" choice.

It may also be that he's buying from memory when he was thin and doesn't realize his weight has gone up and what worked then doesn't work now.

But, altho I hate manipulation, in this case it's fine. I've been manipulated subtly on clothing, furniture, and other taste before and it's fine. Just don't talk to him directly about it.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 12 (view)
When should we talk money?
Posted: 7/5/2009 2:56:24 PM
Mention them when they naturally come up in conversation. Usually people talk about jobs pretty early on in dating. Some jobs pay a lot more than others. I wouldn't mention the investments until the 2 of you are very, very serious and talking about moving in and combining incomes. None of his business until then.

Instead of "dealbreakers", I would view them as "jerk filters". They get rid of the insecure, infantile, and stupid guys.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 16 (view)
Why does a guy say you might get back together when breaking up?
Posted: 7/5/2009 2:52:21 PM
Gemini, the same reasons girls say the same thing. You hit most of the possible reasons:
1. Letting the other person down easy.
2. Commitment problems.
3. A test to see how much you will go thru to be with him. See if you will chase him.

The first 2 are understandable but give problems to the partner. The 3rd happens but is both a stupid and crummy thing to do. But it doesn't matter what the reasons are, HE broke up with you. So any getting back together has to come from HIM, not you.

This guy contacting you about a Facebook entry was wrong. You can put up anything you want on Facebook about your life. I would not have removed the contacts. I would have told him that who you were seeing Transformers with was no longer any of his business -- by HIS choice. And then I would just be a bit more private about what I said on Facebook. You don't have to give up your friends because they are his friends; just keep them out of the middle of any arguments the 2 of you have.

And no, I wouldn't contact him. If he wants to talk to you or get back together, HE must do it. He obviously knows how to find you. Just move on with your life. Don't chase him.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 117 (view)
Next Step in Human Evolution
Posted: 7/5/2009 2:42:45 PM
Ooli oop, you have the common misconception that evolution happens to large populations. Most evolution happens in small, isolated populations. Also, you only list technical changes. These are not biological evolution.

What would affect biological evolution is 1) climate change or 2) having humans fragmented into different environments, either by economics or geography. The small populations would face different environments and thus would be subject to different natural selection pressures. The result would be the splitting of H. sapiens into 2 or more new species of Homo. This is already happening among Andean and Himalayan highlanders and the !Kung. The opposing force is gene flow between populations. As long as there is 1) intermarriage between economic classes and/or 2) good transportation, gene flow will stop speciation.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 21 (view)
Why aren't there more women involved in math and science?
Posted: 7/5/2009 2:10:54 PM
Can't tell you "why", but I can tell you that the situation is rapidly changing. In my generation there were few women. There were no women in my graduate school "class". But now there are far more female grad students in our program (biomedical research) than males. Last year it was 7 females and 1 male. This year it is 5 females and 2 males.

The faculty ratio is about 2 males to 1 female, whereas when I went to graduate school it was 15:1.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 12 (view)
Why does he do this? :P
Posted: 6/24/2009 7:09:13 PM
"true ... but i feel as though my resistance was from him telling me not to do things.. not dress a certain way, not to drink or smoke(420), go out with my party friends etc.. I felt restricted "

Ah. So the relationship was not so good after all. And he wasn't really a prince, but a bit controlling. So it looks like you asserted your independence and he didn't like it.

I suggest next time you try discussing things with your boyfriend calmly instead of acting out (being mean). Tell him that you are feeling restricted. In this case, it sounds like you wanted to tell him that what you wore, whether you smoked or drank, went with your friends, etc. was none of his business. Then the 2 of you are going to have to decide how important these issues are to each of you.

Maybe your behavior is very important to him, or important but not so important that he can't compromise. And maybe it is very important to you to do these things, or not so imporant and you can compromise. Figuring this stuff out decides whether relationships continue or end.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 39 (view)
It's Personal
Posted: 9/13/2007 6:16:13 PM

A good example of this would be religious folk who say, well God caused abiogenesis and evolution. Whereas without the idea of god being put into their minds, they would simply accept abiogenesis and evolution as natural processes, or sought after other causes for them.

The presumption is that the idea of God has been "put into their minds" but that God is not a reality! The reasoning here is circular.

The question is: do abiogenesis and evolution FALSIFY the idea of God? What is being satisfied is your idea that "once one has grown up would set out to see if there is a God(s) without any bias, and it would simply be treated as any other experiment. " So, the experiment is whether evolution and abiogenesis refute the idea of god.

What you don't seem to like is that people DID the experiment you suggest, but reached a conclusion different from yours.

Embedded within your statement is your own belief system: that "natural processes" mean "without god" so that you "accept abiogenesis and evolution as natural processes" and not have god. Is there a scientific basis for your presumption? NO!

Darwin, of all people, knew better. In the Fontispiece of Origin of Species he has this quote:
"The only distinct meaning of the word 'natural' is stated, fixed, or settled; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once." Butler: Analogy of Revealed Religion.

This is a hypothesis, but one that science can't tell you is wrong.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 38 (view)
It's Personal
Posted: 9/13/2007 5:45:20 PM

This is about personal belief systems. I have in the past, and recently on this message board come across people who ascribe to a belief in a god, or higher power, yet not to a conventional religion or sect. It seems to me that they have their own idea of what god is, some deriving this belief from the bible, or elsewhere.

If I understand Dawkins correctly, religion is like a meme, or virus, as it is spread from generation to generation by infecting youth. "Give me the child and I will give you the man" as a jesuit once commented. That is how the christian-judao and islamic religions have been able to survive.

Belief in deity is, like all beliefs, ultimately based on EVIDENCE. With all respect to Dawkins, in this case he is letting his own personal beliefs influence his statements. IOW, Dawkins is extrapolating beyond science in justifying his atheism but misrepresenting his ideas as science.

All evidence is ultimately personal experience. What we see, hear, touch, taste, smell, or feel emotionally. This includes scientific evidence. Scientific evidence is a SUBSET of personal experience: personal experience that is the same for EVERYONE under APPROXIMATELY the same circumstances. It is called intersubjective.

What we have in religions are different theories about the nature of deity. These theories are based in personal experiences of deity the people of the religion have decided to trust: the authors of the books of the Bible, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc. Thus the people in a religion base their theory on data the individuals have agreed is valid. These people often have their own personal experience of deity but that experience is consistent with the theory.

People who hold different, but similar, beliefs to established religions are usually people who have had personal experience of deity but don't think that experience fits with the established theories/religions. Therefore they are theists but do not belong to a larger group.

IMO, you are placing too much emphasis on "indoctrination". Atheists like Dawkins often do this. The reason is that they have to try to get rid of evidence. Therefore, instead of admitting the experience of deity is real, they try to call it "indoctrination".

Remember, THEISTS over the years have rejected many religions. The first Christians were all Jews. If religion was ONLY a matter of "indoctrination", they never would have left Judaism to think Jesus was the Messiah and divine, would they? Why did they insist on following Jesus? Because of the experience they had. Today you have stories of Muslims converting to Christianity and Christians converting to Islam, of atheists converting to Christianity. If beliefs were only a matter of "indoctrination", these changes on the part of individuals could not happen. Unless you propose that the indoctrination is pretty poor. In which case you have to discard the Jesuit statement as false.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 49 (view)
DISCUSSIONS ON Achieving Speeds past Light/zero Energy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 9/13/2007 5:31:53 PM

All i can think of is ...have you ever watched the Evidence: The Case For NASA UFO's
tell me what you think of this cause alot of it makes sense and there are some im not quite sure because i dont know the science behind it

What does this have to do with exceeding the speed of light? It's simply reports of seeing UFOs, not of exceeding lightspeed.

The INFERENCE is that the UFOs (if they exist) had to travel faster-than-light to get here from other stars. But there is nothing about HOW they did this. Your method from the OP won't work. Now, is there a way to get from point A to point B without going thru normal spacetime? Science fiction scenarios necessarily postulate possibilities: subspace, warp, wormholes, etc. But ALL of them involve going out of normal spacetime. And so far, no one has any indication that any of these methods exist.

BTW, remember the speed of light varies depending on the medium. What we usually mean by "speed of light" is speed of light in a VACUUM. The speed of light is different in air or in water. Thus, high velocity particles moving at close to the speed of light in vacuum are actually moving FASTER than the speed of light in AIR when they hit our atmosphere. The result is Cherenkov Radiation.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 48 (view)
DISCUSSIONS ON Achieving Speeds past Light/zero Energy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 9/13/2007 5:20:31 PM

I mean we can easily travel pass the speed of light if we could turn MAss into engery which would make the ship lighter and therefore able to travel much easier past the speed of light without worrying about mass and inertia, seeing it slows us down more and more as we speed up and use up more and more energy to achieve the speeds we been getting so far.

This won't work. As the ship approaches the speed of light, the MOMENTUM increases exponentially. Turning part of the ship into energy doesn't help because the REST of the ship (including you) continues to increase in momentum. At the speed of light the momentum is infinite, requiring infinite energy to accelerate it further. Over halfway down the page you get to a section "c as Speed Limit".
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 19 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/13/2007 5:11:55 PM

You're not the first to realize this trend. There was a guy named Thomas Malthus or maybe it was Francis Galton,Darwins cousin who picked up on this way back over 150 - 200 + years ago.
Read the book The Language of the Genes by Steve Jones.

I'm a little puzzled. What "this trend"?

Malthus noted that human population increases geometrically while resources increase arithmetically. Therefore human population will eventually outstrip resources. Darwin was inspired by this and used this as part of natural selection.

Francis Galton looked at hereditary traits and formulated a mathematical/statistical approach to heredity. He also initiated the idea of "eugenics".

Steve Jones isn't fond of Galton's ideas on eugenics nor is he in favor of trying to tinker with our genome by genetic engineering. He does agree that human technology has freed us from many (tho not all) selection pressures.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 18 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/13/2007 4:56:52 PM

Seems like a couple lines of thinking are prevalent: A) Our technological facility is an extension of natural selection in regards to our species, merely another manifestation of a 'survival trait'. B) Playing 'God' will lead to a slippery slope, eradicating ourselves eventually, and incidentally, quite naturally.

I submit that our technology is a BY-PRODUCT of natural selection. Humans seem to have 2 minor adaptations in regard to other species:
1. The ability to make tools to make tools.
2. The ability to form fine sounds and manipulate abstract thoughts.

Our technology arises from those 2 abilities. But our technology itself is not directly selected for. After all, H. sapiens was doing well when our technology was simple stone tools and spears. With that simple technology H. sapiens colonized the world and eradicated 2 competing species: H. neandertals and H. sapiens. Our level of technology today is an accidental byproduct of selection for the above 2 traits.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 17 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/13/2007 4:52:27 PM

Evolution is adapting to the environment and surviving during that process against the odds. Physical strength (lack there of) or obesity may be the odds, or that those characteristics do not matter in our survival and have hence become vestigial attributes in the equation of evolution. Evolution keeps happening, it's how life progresses, and it's only a science that looks back instead of predicting a change. It's an equation that is not available in the form of physics equation, so what you may not consider evolution or anti-evolution, could very well be the continuous process of evolution.

1. Evolution happens to POPULATIONS, not individuals.
2. Evolution isn't about "progress". To have "progress" you have to assign values to traits/species. Can't do that.
3. When science says "predict", it means "predicting finding knowledge or data we don't know now.", not "predict the future". The reason evolution doesn't usually "predict" the form of future organisms is that we can't predict what future environments will look like. However, there have been some recent studies in natural selection when the type of change of form was predicted in advance. In these cases, the environment was known.

4. Yes, if you say "anti-evolution" or "de-evolution" then you are introducing human judgements about what are "good" and what are "bad" traits. Evolution is simply "descent with modification" without specifying what modifications are "good" or "bad".
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 16 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/13/2007 4:46:44 PM

Using computer models scientists have already come to a conclusion, human race would evolve into two species. Humans in the future will be more selective in their mating habits - good looking smart humans will mate ONLY with good looking smart humans, and the remaining (well, ugly) population will be limited to mate with similar humans.

You need the citation for this. And a website isn't going to cut it, you need the citation to the paper in the scientific literature. This looks like another urban myth. The reality is that mating doesn't go along the lines that you have outlined. Women pick mates on traits other than good looks.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 18 (view)
We are becoming the Borg ?
Posted: 9/9/2007 5:09:50 PM

With the evolution of the Internet and communication technology, if everyone had such a device, everyone could be in instant continuous contact with everyone else all at the same time.
We will become like " Star Treks " human/machine nemesis, the Borg.

That would only happen IF there was no control over the communication and everyone was communicating with everyone else without a way to turn it off. If instead the computer could simply be accessed for information locally or to communicate AT THE OWNER'S DISCRETION, then we would not be the Borg. Our individuality would be preserved simply by not being "online" all the time.

Also, to be Borg, we would have to have the idea that it is OK to convert every other species to our way of living. That does not follow from your scenario.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 65 (view)
Greatest threat to mankind?
Posted: 9/9/2007 5:04:52 PM

Currently, i think the greatest threat to our survival as humans is overpopulation.

I would agree. Control the population and there are resources (wealth) for everyone. Then a lot of the reasons for fighting wars disappears and the technology doesn't destroy the environment because you don't need all those resources for the limited number of people.

Of course, getting a stabilized population, much less a reduction, is another issue. Fortunately, there is one way: increase the standard of living. Studies as long ago as 70 years ago showed that, as wealth increases, family size decreases. And that was before modern birth control.

It is the "bleeding hearts" as you say that have compassion to make the changes in the world. If you didn't care about the wars, people starving, genocide, and other problems of the world, why would you be motivated to do anything about it? It is the positive people who think changes CAN occur, that people CAN change, and are willing to do something about it. Pessimists, on the other hand, by definition, have a negative outlook.

Another good point. Altho pessimists may not have a "negative" outlook, but a realistic one. And then still act to avoid the negative consequences they see coming. Optimists may not recognize the problem until too late. What's the old saying? "Optimists have more fun but pessimists are right more often."

So what may be needed are people who 1) are pessimistic enough to look for problems before they occur and 2) optimistic that they can change the situation and head off the problem.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 16 (view)
Is every action a selfish action?
Posted: 9/9/2007 4:47:19 PM
Lucaspa, soldiers go through a very specifically designed course before they are ever put into a combat situation.

IDEALLY, yes. But thru most of history that ideal has not been met. More often than not, soldiers are thrown into combat with minimal -- often even non-existent -- training. At Shiloh in the Civil War, many of the troops had never loaded or fired their weapons. One "veteran" soldier (who had been in one fight) went up and down one Uni0n regiment showing the soldiers how to load.

So, in many of the instances I have read, that indoctrination you assume had not taken place.

Then consider that if there is a grenade this must be some kind of combat area, which means that the training is so recently ingrained and then reinforced with the situation, that when the instict kicks in, the first thought to get to the brain says, save my unit. I would consider this more a reflex action, most directly related to the training and mindset that is required in a combat situation.

1. That assumes the training. But what is the real reflex in combat? RUN AWAY!
2. Why should there be a reflex to "save my unit" instead of "save myself". After all, that reflex has been with us from birth.
3. It appears that, to get around this example countering your idea that every action is selfish, you have introduced a THIRD category of action. We have "selfish", "unselfish", and "reflex". It appears that you don't consider reflex to be either selfish or unselfish. Correct?

Then I thought, but why would I risk that for someone I don't know? My answer was unexpected - it would give me purpose in this life, even it was just that I was here to donate that organ, I would have fulfilled my destiny.

I think you are stretching to find a "selfish" reason. We are in the position that Karl Popper warned us not to get into: no matter what the data is, you can fit it into your theory. That is, no matter what the action is, you will find a way to make it selfish.

So let's try to follow Popper. Popper stated that hypotheses/theories were only valuable if there were some piece of information that, if found, would show the theory to be false. Your theory is that every act is selfish. So tell us, what POSSIBLE action would show your position to be false?
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 11 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/9/2007 4:37:15 PM

To keep on topic are we evolving ourselves into needing technology to survive?

Homo sapiens already did that. . Once our ancestors (H. habilis was the first) started making stone tools, they already put themselves into a situation where the technology was necessary to survive. Left to just our own bodies vs the wilderness, there are very few places on earth where we could survive. I live in New York. I couldn't make it thru a single winter without the technology of fire, building a shelter, and making clothes or at least blankets. Naked with just natural shelter, I would surely freeze to death.

So, the question you have is: are we getting to the point where we have to have too much (as judged by you) technology to survive?
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 10 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/9/2007 4:31:15 PM

According to Ministry of Nuclear Energy of Russia (MinAtom), the radioactive plume affected a population base of approximately 5 million.
According to data from the Ministry of Statistics of Ukraine, Chernobyl’s radioactive cloud affected 17.2 million people.

How many humans are there? 6,000 million! So this affected less than 0.25% of the population. Hardly enough to affect the evolution of the entire human species.

The offspring of the Japanese atomic bomb survivors also received large radiation doses.

No, the OFFSPRING did not receive large doses of radiation. Rather, the SURVIVORS of Hiroshima and Nagasaki received the large radiation doses. The offspring got the same doses of radiation we all got. Now, they may (or may not) have more mutations in their genome than the rest of us. The background mutation rate for humans is the highest anyway of all known species -- 20-40 mutations per person per generation.

Since most mutations (997.8 out of 1,000) are either neutral or beneficial, I don't see how a few extra mutations due to these accidents are going to weaken the "gene pool".
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 7 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/7/2007 6:38:40 PM

Your comment about animals learning to use tools to help them get their food reminded me of another theory, that of the Critical Mass of the 100th Monkey. 100th Monkey Effect.

"As the story is told, a group of Japanese monkeys created the critical mass needed to teach the species a new behavior. It began with the washing of sweet potatoes by the children of the monkey tribe. The behavior was expanded into the older generation of monkeys that also began washing sweet potatoes. The knowledge spread slowly, but when a certain number of monkeys knew this behavior, the 100th monkey, suddenly the phenomena spread to all the animals. The behavior was adopted throughout the species, even among monkeys that were many miles away and had no contact with this tribe."

You REALLY, REALLY need to document this story before we can accept it as true. Yes, Japanese macaques will learn new behaviors by teaching. But I have NEVER seen anything in the scientific literature hinting that ANY species can learn without contact with the teachers. Humans can't do this. Our contact is thru books and other media, but there is contact.

So, what is your source and have you checked it to see if it is telling the truth?

Oops, never mind. I already found out that it isn't true:
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 269 (view)
Does God exist?
Posted: 9/7/2007 6:31:05 PM

No one knows why the universe came into being. In fact, it is not entirely clear that we can coherently speak about the “beginning” or “creation” of the universe at all, as these ideas invoke the concept of time, and here we are talking about the origin of space-time itself. In this sense a first cause is an absurd question. The beginnig of the universe is an infinite regress (ie. time slows down as mass density is increased) and these initial conditions are simple; therefore God is simple... ... ok, lets just call it the beginnig of time, works for me.

Right, it is the beginning of time. Time has a beginning. Now, when you say "time slows down as mass density increased", this is ONLY from the perspective of those OUTSIDE. For those inside, time proceeds normally. Clocks in orbit go just a bit faster than clocks on earth. But we don't see any "slowing" of time, do we? Since we are INSIDE the singularity, time doesn't slow and there goes your infinite regress.

So First Cause is not an absurd question. It is just a question that, right now, does not have AN answer. Instead, there are several candidates for First Cause but we lack the data to choose between them.

Pascal suggested that religious believers are simply taking the wiser of two bets: if a believer is wrong about God, there is not much harm to him or to anyone else, and if he is right, he wins eternal happiness; if an atheist is wrong, however, he is destined for hell. Put this way, atheism seems the very picture of reckless stupidity.

Not only atheism, but God is the very picture of stupidity in Pascal's Wager. God isn't smart enough to tell the difference between someone that truly believes and someone that is just going thru the motions for selfishness? From a theological standpoint, the wager is just stupid.

I suspect no one ever acquires his religious beliefs in this way (Pascal certainly didn’t). But even if some people do, who could be so foolish as to think that such beliefs are likely to be true?

The valid point is that theists (and atheists) don't acquire beliefs this way. The beliefs are separate from why some people believe them. Therefore that a person believes because of Pascal's wager has nothing to do with the validity of the belief. Who would be so foolish as to evaluate the truth of a belief based on whether they got the belief by Pascal's wager? Deity exists or does not exist irregardless whether someone claims that the reason they believe is due to Pascal's wager.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 268 (view)
Does God exist?
Posted: 9/7/2007 6:16:55 PM
Altho the "Christian" student says " your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error" what is disguised here is that the story is full of strawmen versions of atheism, science, theism, and flawed philosophical premises.

"He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?"

Yes, I can. For a fuller answer I suggest you read Chapter 7 of Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth Miller. It's about love and life having meaning. It's why I don't control my adult childrens' lives even tho I could: their lives have to have meaning.

The mistaken premise here is that changing anything, such as healing cancer, has no other effect or that those effects are negligible. What the brother wanted was what I call a "Vending Machine God" Put in your prayer coin and get your wish.

" Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it. ... immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?" The Christian pauses. "Isn't evil the
absence of good?""

All of these are wrong. Heat is the motion of molecules. "Cold" is a region where the motion of molecules is less than those in the human body. So cold isn't that absence of heat, but heat in relation to that of the human body. Injustice is more than the absence of justice just as immorality is more than the absence of morality or evil the absence of good. All it takes is a moment's thought. Murder is immoral but it is more than the absence of morality. It is an ACTION, not an inaction. Injustice is also a set of actions, not just the absence of actions.

Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir?

This is just false. Evolution has been observed. The student's assertion depends on the professors false premise on what science is: "Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of observed phenomena." Of course, the "Christian" here is meaning "directly" observed, whereas science (and theology) include INdirect observations.

The story is nice rhetoric, but anyone using a minimum of critical thinking can find the flaws and strawmen arguments.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 44 (view)
perpetual motion are there any amature inventors/scientists here
Posted: 9/7/2007 5:55:03 PM

a man named joseph newman and his perpetual motion device which he claims can run off its own energy and output even more than is put in

Have you ever heard of the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

You cannot output more useful energy (to do work, which is the only kind you want in a perpetual motion machine) that you put in.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 8 (view)
Is every action a selfish action?
Posted: 9/7/2007 5:50:05 PM

For those who believe that there truely are selfless acts, it will be most interesting to hear what those acts are.

What do you think of the example of a soldier that throws himself on a hand grenade to protect his buddies? In many of those cases, the individual could have thrown himself clear and suffered minor injuries or none. What did the soldier gain?

Robert E. Lee once said that "duty is the most sublime word in the English language. One can never do more and should never wish to do less." In doing his "duty" to Virginia Lee lost everything: his property (Arlington National Cemetary is Lee's home), his health, and altho he won many battles, in the end he lost the war. Would you really consider whatever psychological boost Lee got from doing his duty "selfish"?
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 6 (view)
De-Evolution of Man?
Posted: 9/7/2007 5:37:32 PM

'Man' no longer evolves along Darwinian rules. Survival traits are no longer being selected for in the dating/mating game. This is resulting in a physically weaker, more disease-prone population. Our technology and medical science have increased individual lifespans at the cost of not 'weeding out' undesirable genetic mutations. Instead, weaker strains live long enough to reproduce and pass on their inherited weaknesses.

This presumes that some traits are always good and others are always bad. But that isn't true -- traits are only good or bad in particular environments. If the individuals are living and reproduing, then they are NOT "weak" in the environment we have.

Think of Steven Hawking. Brilliant. But a wasting genetic disease (Lou Gehrig's). Modern medical science kept Hawking alive long enough to have kids -- who get a chance at both the alleles that make him brilliant and the alleles that cause Lou Gehrig's disease. Your scheme would have us sacrifice the alleles for brilliance along with the alleles for Lou Gehrig's disease. The same goes for many other traits such as nearsightedness, diabetes, etc. Yes, we may have a greater percentage of nearsighted people now than 100,000 years ago, but in our environment nearsightedness is not "bad" AND we get to keep the alleles for musical talent, brains, even athleticism.

For this reason, I support genetic and stemcell research. If we don't take control of our own evolution, Mother Nature will erase us eventually and the roaches will have a clear shot at the title again.

This presumes that we are smarter than natural selection. But we aren't. The proof is that humans use natural selection when the design problem is too tough for them. That is, we use natural selection because it is smarter than we are.

99.99% of all species that have ever lived are extinct. So yes, Homo sapiens might go extinct. I think the odds of extinction are much greater if we direct our own evolution because we don't know which alleles to keep. In eliminating alleles that YOU think are "weaker", you could also eliminate alleles that are going to be necessary in some future environment.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 7 (view)
Posted: 5/30/2006 4:01:26 PM
If this is about guilted for being "white", again you have to be more specific. Certainly Italians, Irish, Scottish, Greeks, Ukrainians etc. are proud of their heritage. Lots of festivals celebrating each of these ethnic groups. And all are "white".

So, what specifically about "white" do you feel guilted over? I don't see or feel what guilt you are talking about. What part of white does the OP want to boast about or be proud of?
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 20 (view)
who create god
Posted: 5/30/2006 6:31:16 AM

I do believe in faith, however, but it can be explained via the subconscious mind and with as yet to be discovered subatomic messenger particles(i have faith that they will be discovered some day. hah).

That doesn't tell you whether the messenger particles originate in the brain or are reacting to an external source -- deity.

Or maybe things are just caused by some "Guy"... gender male... sitting on some sweet looking throne in Heaven Town, casting spells that make us fart or destroy good things for nothing more than his own amusement...

That isn't the Judeo-Christian deity you are describing. Yahweh is spirit and has no gender. "Father" is a vague description of part of its relationship with humans (and because the Hebrews were a patriarchal society), but the OT is clear that Yahweh is NOT physical.

It's also clear Yahweh is NOT controlling us. You have described a control freak deity. But again, scripture is clear that Yahweh is not that way. No wonder you disbelieve your strawman deity. It's pretty disgusting. However, it bears no relationship to the deity described by people with personal experience of deity.

Thanks religion, you've steared us in the right direction, allowing the weaker of us to follow your rules so we can avoid anarchy, but the time has come for us to evolve...

You've got a major science problem here: your mistaken idea of evolution. First, evolution does NOT happen to individuals. Evolution only happens to POPULATIONS. Second, evolution is not conscious. That is, the population does not decide to "evolve" or have any control over evolution.

Second, Plato once asked: is something good because God commands it or does God command it because it is good? Most people go with the second because the first is the ultimate in relativistic morals. But this means that morality is independent of God. So, as you put it, God provided a helping hand (like a parent) in telling us what good morals are, but the morals are there independent of God and we can figure them out without resorting to God (much like we as adults make moral decisions without quoting our parents).

Third, religion and the reality of deity are 2 separate things. It's obvious that ALL the world's religions could be wrong to some extent, or even totally wrong, but deity would still exist.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 19 (view)
who create god
Posted: 5/30/2006 6:21:16 AM

In a world where laws dictate the movement of everything, it's the only logical choice... Either that, or I'll just get "God" to wield his magic wand and have a 2 headed cat appear... for fun.

1. Laws don't dictate everything. At the quantum level, events happen that are not caused and are not the result of "laws". The quantum level is regular which disguises the uncaused nature. In a half-life, half the radioactive atoms in a sample will decay. If you have 8 atoms, 4 will decay. But WHICH 4? The decay of the individual atom is uncaused. And, if 4 atoms decay in the first half-life, why do only 2 decay in the second. How does the sample know there are only 4 atoms instead of 8?

2. Having laws doesn't mean God isn't present. Standard Christian theology says that God sustains the universe. That means that no law happens without God willing it. Science can't tell you whether that is correct or incorrect. It's a limitation of science. But voting for quantum fluctuation because you think scientific "laws" exclude God is mistaken science and mistaken theology.

“The physical universe has its source in and is derived from a prior or transcendent unity, a primordial unity or first cause, essentially non-material and spiritual in nature.

We don't know if First Cause is "non-material and spiritual". The author is mistakenly stating his opinion as fact. Of the 5 possible First Causes, only deity is "spiritual".

it is ever the nature of first cause that "it" is completely without limitation, qualification, or antecedent.

First Cause is without antecedent. However, we don't know if it is without limitation or qualification. Both Logical and Mathematical Necessity and No Boundary have limitations and qualifications. L and M has the limitation that it is THIS PARTICULAR set of laws and math. No Boundary, as I said, has the limitation and qualification that, at a particular point just after BB, all the dimensions were identical. If that doesn't happen, the No Boundary doesn't work as First Cause. I don't think the person you quoted really thought about the candidates for First Cause. It took only one candidate -- deity -- and then generalized so that First Cause would fit deity. It is circular logic.

Lord Dave
Of those 5, only 1 has consiousness. And if you can say that consiousness can spontaniously exist or exist without a beginning, then one could use that argument to validate the theory of evolution.

Isn't that the exact opposite of the definition of faith? And how can we verify these stories?

By a mistaken definition of "faith", yes. The definition that says faith is without EVIDENCE. But Merriam-Webster has faith defined as "(1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof" Not "no evidence", but no "PROOF". Then you have to define "proof".

Let's face it, for Thomas sticking his hands in the wounds of the risen Jesus, did he have "faith"? Not really. He had knowledge. I would submit that faith is belief without intersubjective evidence. :)

They could be as fictional as King Arthur or simply mis-interpritations of actual events.

Yes, they could. Or they could be essentially accurate descriptions of what happened. Your choice which one you are going to believe. :) See, taking the stories as accurate or fictional is equally an act of faith.

If there is a god, then there is no way any moral man is going to be able to understand it or anything that he "experiences" personally.

Two different ideas here. 1. That man won't understand God completely. 2. That man won't understand ANYTHINB that he "experiences". If the second is true, then science and ALL knowledge is gone. Because all knowledge is based on direct experience. So, yes, we can understand a lot that we experience.

So, we could easily understand that the experience is OF God, without understanding God completely.

Also, the jorney is what makes it worthwild as well as having others continue on the jorney long after you die, but if the jorney never ends, what then?

Then the journey is still worthwhile.

Look at it this way. In 5 billion years our sun is going to be a red giant, swell, and swallow the earth. In 60 billion years entropy in the universe will be at a maximum and all life will end. That's the "end" of our human journey. Oblivion. So, how is having an end that is oblivion any better than a journey that never ends? Why are you doing ANYTHING now, including having kids, when you know that in 5 billion or 60 billion years it will all be for nothing? At least if the journey never ends, there is the chance that the whole thing will eventually be worthwhile.

Oh and who's to say that this universe isn't like the 10 billionth that god has made? Eternity isn't something most minds can deal with. Bordom is a very real problem.

It's possible that God has made many more universes. However, this universe has millions of galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars. What's more, the universe is such that even God cannot know the future! So, since God doesn't know the future, there's a lot to do and see in this universe and I don't see boredom as a problem, even for God. Now, when this universe inevitably dies because of the expansion and maximum entropy, God can make a new universe. And, thanks to quantum mechanics, the history of that universe will be different from this one. No boredom.

??? I'm not sure what you mean by "theory of evolution". Evolution, as the scientific theory, IS "validated" by the data. But evolution isn't atheism. In evolution, consciousness does have a "beginning". That is, human consciousness is the product of all the functions of our brain. Our brains evolved from earlier species whose brains did not have ALL the functions ours does.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 13 (view)
the universe
Posted: 5/29/2006 8:10:06 AM
I don't want to speak for Frenchvanillacoffee, but I too have read a bit on the subject. The March Scientific American had a good article on the misconceptions of the Big Bang. Basically, the BB is the source of space and time. At the moment of the BB, the universe was so hot that matter didn't exist; it was all energy. Then, as space expanded, the universe cooled to the point where matter could "freeze out" of the energy. Remember, E=mc^2. Matter/energy are two different forms of the same thing. So, as matter froze out there was antimatter and matter. They met and annhilated each other, releasing energy again. This energy of annihilation is the Cosmic Microwave Background Energy (CMB or CMBE for short) that permeates the universe. Since the universe has continued to expand, the CMB "cooled", which is why it is in the microwave range now.

However, there was 1 part in a billion more matter than antimatter. The matter we see in the universe now (stars, planets, etc) is that 1 part in a billion excess of matter!

Now, BB has a beginning in space and time. After all, time started at the BB. Before the BB, there was NOTHING. NO THING. No matter, no energy, no space, no time. Difficult concept to get your head around, but there it is. There is nothing "outside" the universe for it to expand into -- it is space itself that is expanding (which means that space can, and does, expand faster than light).

For a while, it was thought that the universe would expand and then gravity would cause it to contract again and you would have a Big Crunch. It was thought there even might be infinite cycles of this. However, it was quickly realized that the second law of thermodynamics would take over and that each new cycle would be different and that an infinite cycle was not possible. Sorry, MysticRogue, but the Hindu idea of infinite cycles is contradicted by fact.

Anyway, having all the matter/energy packed into an infinitely small space makes what is called a "singularity" -- an enormous black hole. It's also a place where Relativity breaks down and doesn't work. Scientists hate it when a major theory doesn't work. So Stephen Hawking started playing around with the math to see if he couldn't get rid of the singularity. The result is No Boundary. Hawking orginally thought there would be one[/b[] Big Crunch as the universe contracted again. No Boundary had the universe looking something like a globe. BB was at the north pole and Big Crunch at the south pole. As JackSmerkingRevenge stated, you could walk all around the globe. Hawking's phrase was "finite but unbounded". The universe was finite but you could never find an "edge" and instead could keep walking forever.

But then facts intervened! Damned inconvenient things for theories, sometimes, those pesky facts are! Anyway, it turns out the expansion of the universe is accelerating! And the acceleration is too much for gravity ever to cause a collapse and Big Crunch. So there went No Boundary! Killed by data.

But wait!! Turok got together with Hawking and they revised No Boundary to take account of the new data. The new "shape" of the universe is a parabaloid! Draw a parabola on a piece of graph paper and then rotate it until you have a 3 dimensional thing. It's like a cone with a rounded bottom. That's why FrenchVanillaCoffee said "ice cream cone" (right?). Since a parabola extends to infinity, you can still walk forever on the surface and not fall off or come to a boundary. So the universe is still "finite but unbounded". Altho that "finite" part is open to debate.

Now, No Boundary is NOT fact! It is a very speculative hypothesis. From the pov of science, it is almost worthless. Why? Because No Boundary doesn't predict any facts we should find that would be there ONLY if No Boundary is true. All the predictions made by NB about facts we should find are also predictions made by BB. All NB does is get rid of the singularity. It's more philosophical than scientific -- which is why Hawking called it a "Proposal" to begin with. Also, NB depends on some very arbitrary assumptions: that all the space dimension and the time dimension were identical soon after the BB. There is no reason to assume that -- except you want to get rid of the singularity. Which is circular logic.

Could NB be true? Yes. No one has shown it false to my knowlegdge. Is NB true? Maybe, but we don't know for sure and will probably never be able to know for sure.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 17 (view)
who create god
Posted: 5/29/2006 7:34:08 AM
First, everything does NOT have to have a beginning. When we discuss the cause of the universe we are discussing what is called "First Cause". It is the uncaused cause that started the whole cause and effect chain that is our universe. Whatever First Cause is -- and there are 5 possibilities -- that First Cause has existed forever. The 5 possibilities, in no particular order, are:

1. Logical and mathematical necessity. The equations and laws of the universe are so compelling that they forced the formation of a universe for them to describe.

2. Deity. A God or Gods created the universe.

3. Quantum fluctuation. Events at the quantum level are uncaused. The universe is a huge quantum event.

4. No Boundary. This is a proposal by Stephen Hawking and updated with Turok. If all the dimensions of the universe were the same shortly after the Big Bang, you get a universe that doesn't have a beginning and therefore was never "created". It just IS.

5. Ekpyrotic. This is a variation of #3. The universe is the result of a random collision between two quantum membranes in 11 dimensions.

It is a classic case of multiple competing hypotheses with insufficient data to choose between them. None have been falsified, so all are still on the table as far as science is concerned.

Now, all of these First Causes have no beginning. After all, what can create chance? And the idea is that Logic and Mathematics have always existed. In No Boundary, it is the universe itself that has always existed without a beginning So God is no different.

As someone said, not having the answer to the next question that pops up out of the answer can't be used to deny the answer. The question is: what caused the universe? Answer: God created it. Next question: what's the origin of God. Answer: we don't know; maybe God is eternal. However, any problems you have with God being eternal isn't going to negate that God exists and created. You have to find some other reason to deny the existence of God.

However without scripture, there is no God. If there was never a book written, no priests, no devoted followers, no stories about god, ect... how would you know god?

The existence of God is independent of believers. That is, God exists or does not exist no matter what people believe about it.

People know about God the same way we know about everything else in the universe: by direct personal experience. Scripture and stories are simply examples of personal experience of God. Now, not everyone has experience of God. For those that don't, there is a decision to make: trust the experience of others as accurate or trust your own experience (of no experience) and either doubt the existence of God or deny the existence of God.

So when he's done everything, seen everything, heard everything, said everything... what's left to do? Everything god does will ultimately lead him to nowhere. What good does creating the universe do for him? Nothing because he's eternal. What good does granting immortality to all mortals upon death do for him? Nothing because no matter howmany souls he has with him, eventually there will be a point in which nothing will change, nothing will be new. Everything will be... empty. God went from emptyness and is going to go right back to emptyness.

LOL! So? Isn't that what humans do? Go from nothingness before birth to nothingness after death. So let's apply your question to that: what good does life do for you? "If your going to end up where you started, why bother even starting?" Why don't we all commit suicide as soon as we realize we started from nothingness and will end up in nothingness?

The answer, of course, is that the journey is worthwhile. And what we do has consequences. Same for God. Creating a universe has consequences, and there are consequences for the people who live eternally with God. Also, once this universe is a burned out, dead universe, God can always create a new one.
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 5 (view)
Posted: 5/28/2006 4:16:35 PM

Why is it that every race and religion on this fine planet can be proud of their heritage and race by making the whole world hear about it , but if you say i'm proud to be white or i'm proud to be caucasian you get labled a racist???? Is that not a double standard???

So its ok for every other race to go and say how proud they are of there culture etc... but i cant say the same thing at least not in public without being called racist...

What exactly do you want to be "proud of"?

The problem is that our ancestors (yes, I'm also Caucasian) equated pride with "supremacy" and proceeded to demonstrate their "pride" by subjugating or belittling every other ethnic group or race on the planet! So "white pride" is mixed up with that suppression of other races and ethnic groups.

So how do you plan to speak about this "pride" without the racial bigotry historically related to whites from coming thru?
Joined: 5/28/2006
Msg: 10 (view)
Physics teacher under fire for gun experiment
Posted: 5/28/2006 2:50:31 PM

but what if the bullet misses, penetrates target or somehow richochets off something behind it and kills some kid?

The article says the teacher fires from "point-blank range". In this case it means he has the barrell touching the target. No chance of missing or a richochet. As long as he brings only 1 bullet to class, there's no chance of anyone else getting the gun and using it on anyone else.

Of course, they could always turn the gun into a club but they can do that with the baseball bats in gym class, too!

Besides, the kids can always get killed in a traffic accident on the way to and from school. A LOT more risk than this.

And no, I am NOT in the military.
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