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wellnamed last won the day on April 4 2019

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About wellnamed

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    Strong Minded
  • Birthday 05/05/1982

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    New Mexico
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    religion, mysticism, sociology, anthropology, science, technology, and etc
  • More About Me
    I am classified as a meat-popsicle

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    le poulet rôti

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  1. Random but related: I saw this article yesterday and the number kind of blew my mind (n.b. I have no idea how skeptical you should be of this data either :P) Ethiopia plants more than 350 million trees in 12 hours
  2. I did try to provide an outline of the answer to the question of where the data comes from. I'm not sure if it actually helped or not One thing I was thinking the other day is that it seems like some of the debate on climate change is a useful context for thinking about making decisions while taking account of uncertainty, or risk. I think to some extent our normal language makes this seem harder than it is? That is we tend when speaking about stuff like climate to reduce the question to either "do you accept this or not?" as a very binary thing. And it seems like a false dichotom
  3. Your question seems like a misunderstanding to me. The data from the 19th century are not estimates of global temperature, they are thermometer reports from various ship and ground stations. The global temperature anomalies are estimated from aggregating all of the different station reports from a given time period and applying various corrections to them. The estimates then are the result of applying modern techniques to very old raw data. Bearing in mind that I'm disclaiming any expertise, you can find a lot of information about how this works from looking up various articles. On
  4. It is definitely known that data sets used for measuring climate change (say temperature anomalies at various locations over time) are messy. Whenever I've looked at IPCC publications they usually account for that by charting measures along with some indication of the estimated error. Just as a random example, I did a Google Image Search for "IPCC temperature anomaly with error bars" and the first result was this chart from NOAA, where the little gray bars above and below the line represent the uncertainty, most of which (as I understand it) is a result of known measurement issues,
  5. I'm by no means an expert but I believe I've read cosmologists who argue that big bang cosmology doesn't actually say anything about a "before", or really anything about the singularity. The theory and all of the data are extrapolations back towards a kind of asymptote, but not an attempt to say anything about what could exist (or not exist) "before the big bang", as it were. The real work is trying to explain conditions at time T0 + δ for increasingly small (but not 0) deltas.
  6. I agree that "quantum foam" is not really nothing in the philosophical sense usually meant in the context of asking about being and nothingness, or whether something can come from nothing. I tend to think the underlying question about "why is there something rather than nothing" (which I think is closely related) is unanswerable. There's a line of argument related to the Principle of Sufficient Reason here, and I tend to think that principle is not absolutely true, or at least probably not knowable. Instead, it seems to me that it's probably necessary to take as a principle of prag
  7. I kind of gave up after season 1, which was hit or miss for me. I love the book though.
  8. I believe it is here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1071-0 Full text: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wellnamed/10.1038%40s41586-019-1071-0.pdf
  9. Fair enough, for my purposes the fact that it's not widely accepted is good enough for answering the question. The original concept of the aether is wrong, at the very least, I think. New theories adopting that term notwithstanding?
  10. The reason for the paragraphs is to point out that you're probably asking the wrong question to begin with Like I said, the labeling has more to do with the use of scientific methods than anything else. It would still be called a theory if it were proven false. It would just no longer be used in the same way. For example, you could refer to the idea of the "aether" as a scientific theory, it's just one that's been disproven.
  11. this essay is pretty great:



    As I’m writing this, Wyoming’s state legislature just voted to preserve capital punishment in the state. Some legislators made the usual tough-on-crime excuses for their votes, but one state senator, incredibly, offered that the death penalty was good enough for Jesus, so we should keep it because if you think about it, we really owe our salvation to capital punishment. This conceivably could just be an episode of the show, but if you extend the logic far enough, you get to “we need to have the death penalty ready to go if any messiahs show up"...


  12. Another thing I like to think about, regarding knowledge in general: One of the classical definitions of knowledge is "justified, true belief". That is, we can say we "know that P" if and only if we believe that P, we are justified to believe that P, and P is true. There are some interesting issues with that definition (cf. Gettier problems), but I think that really all of epistemology boils down to just that one element: justification. Putting aside technical terminology for a second, what makes science valuable as an approach to knowledge is just the effort to justif
  13. The point in the wiki entry about black swans is just a point about logical induction in general, and also of abduction (inference to the best explanation). Inductive conclusions do not have the same logical force of necessity that deductive proofs (e.g. in math). This is an inescapable fact of epistemology that one just has to accept. Theories are not facts in some simple sense. But, it may be helpful to think in terms of probability. The better tested a theory is, that is the more opportunities there have been for empirical falsification, and the wider the range of phenomena for
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