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    • Michael Stuart Kelly

      New upgrade with simpler interface   05/13/2016

      Once again, the fine folks at IPB made a new upgrade and things might not be where you started to learn they were. However, this is one time where I think they actually improved things for navigation. There are only a few big buttons: When you click on one of those buttons, some other stuff opens up, depending on which button you click. (Later Note: These only appear when zoomed in or in the mode for smartphones/tablets.) I'm learning this as you are, so I suggest you do what I am doing: click on these big buttons, see what they open and fiddle with the software some. Ironically, you will find there is a lot that is intuitive. That's what I'm discovering. (Later note: I just discovered that I was viewing the site zoomed in too far to see the normal view. The menus are still there with the old buttons, but when I zoom in too much, they disappear and the new buttons appear. I believe this zoomed in way is what the site looks like on mobile devices. I'm going to mess with it some more, then maybe make some explanations.) Sorry for the inconvenience. Still, over time, I hope you end up liking these changes. Michael


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About BaalChatzaf

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  • Birthday 08/24/1936

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  • Full Name Robert J. Kolker
  • Description I am retired, but far from inactive. A day without a twenty mile bicycle ride is a day without joy.
  • Favorite Music, Artworks, Movies, Shows, etc. Music: Mozart, Bethoven. Movie: Casablanca. Favorite Philsopher: David Hume
  • Looking or Not Looking not looking

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Currently residing in New Jersey, the Bad-a-Bing State.
  • Interests mathematics, physics, alternative energy sources.

    I am also involved in preparing recorded books for blind and dyslexic folks.

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  1. Why is there religion???

    Have a look here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/quantum-physics-free-will/
  2. Why is there religion???

    I am programmed (or "wired") to do as I do and think as I think. However the underlying quantum processes are non-deterministic. Free Will dwells within the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Please keep in mind that all of us Terran animals are physical down to the subatomic level.
  3. Why is there religion???

    I am in favor of letting people live, all other things being equal. I guess I am just a sentimentalist. Or maybe I don't like the idea of being left to perish. If I don't like when something is done to me, I am disinclined to do that thing to other folks if I don't have to.
  4. Why is there religion???

    In our society we accord such an unfortunate the rights of being a person. It is not true in all society. In some primitive societies the old were left to perish. I believe that was the case with the Inuits prior to them being Christianized. Most old folks in our society die while they still have most of their marbles. There are some unfortunate cases of people suffering from Alzheimer's Syndrome who become totally demented prior to dying. It is our custom to care for such unfortunate people. In societies living just on the border of starvation maintaining such a custom could be fatal to their society. It comes down to the case of two people in a desert with only enough water to sustain one till they can reach a water supply. If they share the water then both die. If one has the water and the other does not one lives and one dies. It makes perfectly good sense for one to live and one to die rather than both die. In our society we have so much surplus food and life support that we can afford to be charitable to the sick and dying. Lucky us.
  5. Why is there religion???

    A human fetus has too little brain mass to be be a -person-. After birth it takes a month or two for the brain to grow and make sufficient neural interconnection to be a human person. Fortunately the brain is one of the fastest growing organs in newborn infants. There is a good reason why the brain is small at birth. The head is the largest diameter portion of the fetus' body. It must be small enough to pass through the vaginal opening. That is why, among the primates newborn human infants are the least developed (in relation to their adult form) of all the primates. It takes several years of nurturing before a human can survive autonomously. Among the other primates, the newborns require much less time to achieve autonomous survival (relative to their expected life span). Humans come half-baked out of the oven. It is doubtful that a newborn human is a person, but we customarily protect the lives of newborns. This was not always and everywhere true. In Athens and Sparta unwanted or damaged newborns were exposed and left to die. The same was true in Rome.
  6. Why is there religion???

    So what? Does either the leftist or the libertarian harm anyone? I do not oppose abortion. Which means I do not interpose in the decisions others make about abortion. All of the children I and my spouse have made were born and are currently quite well. I have not stolen anything from my neighbors, nor have I swindled anyone, nor have I wrongfully shed blood. I have not set anyone's fields alight nor have I trampled their crops. A person's privately held beliefs are of no consequence. Only a person's actions matter. Tend to the observable. That is what counts. That which is private or hidden does not matter until it becomes action.
  7. Why is there religion???

    At my age, laughter sometimes wets my pants.
  8. Why is there religion???

    Jim Wales posts a lot on Quora
  9. Why is there religion???

    I understand every word you have written. I did my schooling 60 years ago when the public and private schools were a lot better than they are now. I sent my youngest son to a privately run high school to make sure he got good instruction. And you make a good point. A school does not teach so much as it supplies a place and situation to learn. The bulk of real education is self education.
  10. Why is there religion???

    I am very familiar with that remark. Which is why I am mostly self-taught. The only thing I took out of my "government education" was the science and the math which has the same content regardless of how the school is funded. In a government funded school 1 + 1 = 2. In a private school 1 + 1 = 2.
  11. Why is there religion???

    I have little to do with "common sense". Einstein described "common sense" as the collection of prejudices one accumulates in the first 15 years of life. I have discovered by experience that most of our common sense is faulty. Science has progressed along paths that refute "common sense" By the way, CO2 is plant food. I never had the position the CO2 is a pollutant. CO2 can slow down the rate at which the atmosphere can radiate heat into cold space. In that sense is is like a blanket. A blanket works by slowing the rate at which the air around your body (under the blanket) radiates heat away. Blankets are very good to have on a cold night and not so good to have on a warm humid night. In any case, the effect of infra red retarding radiation gases is NOT going to turn the planet Earth into Venus. This is all simple thermodynamics. If we did not have heat retaining gases in our atmosphere the average temperature of the Earth would be below the freezing temperature of water. I am not a global warming alarmist. I am at most a lukewarmist. I would prefer to see us building nuclear reactors to make our electricity (the technology exists and it works). I would also like to see photocatalytic decomposition of water produce free hydrogen for running fuel cells. The plants know how to do this (it is called photosynthesis) and if we can do this on a grand scale we can produce all the energy we need and produce H2O as a by-product. CO2 is best kept in hot houses where we can raise the concentration safely to 2000 ppm. The plants love it! CO2 is life to the plants and the plants reward us with O2 which is life for the animals. By the way the thermodynamics taught in government funded schools is exactly the same as the thermodynamics taught in private schools. Science is science and it is nature that dictates the content, not the Kommissar of Education. It does not matter how a school is funded. The math and science courses have the same content regardless of funding. Unfortunately this is not true for politics, ethics and philosophy which is why I make it a point to avoid politics, ethics and philosophy when I think. I deal with facts, experimentally supported scientific theories and mathematical logic. That is the sum total of what is in my head. The best way to keep garbage out is not to put any in.
  12. Transhumanism/AI Worship is Evil

    Kurtzweil is a genius inventor but I would not trust his judgement as a futurist. Computers are not going to out-think and out-smart humans any time soon.Why? Because computers can only do what their human programmers tell them to do. So called AI is nifty heuristic programming and none of it emulates how humans think. Humans can get outside the box. Computers cannot. There is no recorded and vetted instance of a computer coming up with an original and creative idea with general application. So far no computer has come up with a proof for any of the important theorems outstanding in mathematics and what is even more important is that no computer has ever formulated an important theorem to try to prove. Human programmers have yet to put subtle judgement into their programs. And do not think me a reactionary. I worked in AI for ten years during my misspent youth.
  13. Currently, living beyond life expectancy is a matter of genetics, not culture. If one has the right genes and does not wreck his/her body with bad food, lack of exercise or bad habits, if the genes are just right one can live to the nineties or even beyond. First step to living at least into the mid seventies is not to have ever smoked or quit smoking young. After that exercise and after that avoid too much weight.
  14. Why is there religion???

    I get the life deserved by people who are smarter than 98 percent of the human race.
  15. Why is there religion???

    I came to my conclusion independently of any school work. My business is thinking logically. I do that on my own. My judgement is independent. If morality is so objective where are there so many different sets of moral codes and moral laws? Arithmetic is objective. 1 + 1 = 2 everywhere and always. The same is not true for moral laws. If you look at the structure of physical laws you will not find a single moral term in them. Thus morality cannot be deduced from physical law. Moral law is disconnected from the physical laws that govern matter and motion.