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Member since: 2001
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How about we all agree that we can call it a "police-ish" state?

Would that satisfy the semantical differences we are encountering?

There is little disagreement over the issues. Few are disputing that the police are militarized, tend toward brutality, are protected from prosecution, and are hypocritical of civil rights.

But we can post about it! So this can't be a police state. I propose the compromise term, "policeish" to denote a state where police can exceed their legal authority, assault and arrest peaceful assemblies, and they are covered and exonerated by the system.


I had lunch with Richard Dawkins today.

I sat right across the table from him.

Background: My atheist group, FLASH, hosted Dawkins, and toured the Everglades with him, a couple of years ago. (I couldn't make the 'glades trip. ) He's now on a book tour, and did a major event in Miami. He suggested we have a luncheon with some FLASH members. About thirty people attended.

He was with us about two hours. Lunched and small talked for 45 minutes, and then started a discussion. He had no prepared remarks, but addressed the issue he termed "tokenism." That is, that fighting over slogans, mottoes, and pledges is a distraction. (And he also cited, and acknowledged the opposing views.) He feels the major issue is the notion that children automatically inherit the religion of their parents. As in "these are Jewish children," rather than "these are children of Jewish parents." He pointed out that we don't address republican children, or humanist children, or logical positivist children, so why only religious indoctrination?

Our local group, and some allied groups, have been battling some installations of religious monuments around the state. One of the allied groups is the Satanic Church (an ironic name) and Dawkins expressed some curiosity. He wondered at the PR of calling themselves that, since they are atheists. He suggested we should be after religious tax exemption. And there was consensus on that. Basically, there were two main topics: questions on evolution and genetics, and on ways to improve atheist public relations.

He also reiterated the notion that he can't be absolutely sure there is no creator -- just as he cannot be absolutely sure there are no unicorns and leprechauns.

Bonus! The luncheon was held at a golf club that is literally around the corner from where I live. The food was good. Italian buffet. Weather 70F. and sunny.


When a politician answers with, "I am not a scientist," the follow-up should be:

Is that a recusal?

Maybe abstention?


Hard to see how Benghazi won't be a disaster for the Republicans.

It is destined to become a major punchline and unavoidable cliche. And it will mean this investigation long after people have forgotten what the initial incident was. Look for future faux investigations to be suffixed with "-ghazi" the way we apply "-gate" to any alleged government deception.

I have taken to using it as a greeting.


A mathematical relationship does exist. It's called a correlation.

Since we're not projecting a proof, the level of analysis is incidental to the data. I notice a correlation between umbrellas and water falling from the sky. Is there a causality? It needs to be determined. The same correlation exists between umbrellas and windshield wipers. Causality? The other possible explanations are coincidence and error, which can be revealed by replication.

In the case of CO2 there is some deduction that enters the picture. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (GHG.) (If you fill a vessel with it, and shine a light on it, it gets warmer than an identical vessel-light combination filled with air. Happens every time.) And then, the incidence of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 40% in the industrial age. That's after a million years of virtually no change. The conclusion implied by those premises is that the atmosphere is warming.

The predictions based on those models were set down 40 years ago. Temperatures, ocean levels, glacial decreases, droughts, storms, etc. It's happening. The warming, its feedbacks, the climate sensitivity -- is pretty much settled, unless you have some revolutionary information. If it's not CO2 behaving as predicted and expected, burden is on you to show how, and what it then might be. Solar cycles, Milankovitch cycles, and obliquity cycles have been proposed, and ruled out. You'll have to think up something new, and a way of detecting it.

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