White House's New Report On Intellectual Property Enforcement Should Get A Copyright As A Creative Work Of Fiction

from the maybe-hollywood-can-make-the-movie dept

The 2008 ProIP Act put in place a number of problematic things, including (via a very sneaky backdoor method) the ability for the US government to directly censor websites (something many people thought was in SOPA but which is already a part of the law, according to a tenuous interpretation of the law by the Justice Department and Homeland Security). It also put in place the job of IP Enforcement Coordinator, officially known as IPEC, but more regularly called the Copyright Czar. The job isn't about more efficient or more effective IP. It's designed solely to push an agenda of greater enforcement as if that must be a good thing. While the current Copyright Czar, Victoria Espinel, actually has been very good in trying to hear from critics of expanded copyright enforcement, the nature of the job itself leaves her little room to do too much.

However, as part of the job, she releases an "annual report" on intellectual property enforcement. Now, as you hopefully know, content published by the federal government cannot be covered by copyright and is automatically in the public domain. But, reading through the newly released annual report (pdf and embedded below), it makes me wonder if we should make an exception here, as it appears to be, in large part, a work of fiction.

There are plenty of questionable things in the report, but I'm just going to focus on a few (we'd be here all day if I dug into even more of the report, but feel free to read and guffaw along with the entire report). Once again, the report seems to assume that "greater enforcement = good thing," despite a near total lack of evidence to support that position. In part, of course, this is the nature of the job itself, so the report has to slant in that direction. But there are some whoppers in the report. Let's dig into a few:
  • "Improved transparency in intellectual property policy-makings and international negotiations." Wait, what?!? Yes, this is the same administration that has been the most secretive when it comes to negotiating IP laws and international agreements. SOPA came out of a secret backroom deal in which the tech industry and the public were entirely left out of the negotiations. That's why there was a public revolt over SOPA/PIPA.

    And, of course, ACTA and TPP negotiations have been significantly more secretive than traditional IP international agreements as negotiation via WIPO and the WTO. In those negotiations, positions are made publicly. With ACTA and TPP the US government has driven a policy of extreme secrecy, requiring special security clearance just to see drafts, and forbidding other countries from releasing reports. With TPP, the USTR has even agreed that the various documents surrounding the negotiations should be kept secret until four years after the agreement is completed and ratified. This is not transparency at all. It's the opposite of transparency. Saying you're transparent and actually being transparent are two different things.

    This is a point where the White House and IPEC in particular could be a lot more effective. It could revamp the entire Special 301 process to make that more transparent and less of a black box where the USTR basically "remixes" the complaints of Hollywood into a report shaming other countries. It could tell the USTR to release its positions and drafts for things like ACTA and TPP publicly so that the public (you know, the real stakeholders) can comment. It could call out the USTR for doing things like participating in an industry-sponsored dinner for negotiators, and partying in Hollywood with MPAA studio heads while kicking civil service organizations out of the hotel where they were meeting. But, instead, it pretends that there's more transparency? That's simply fictional.

    Patting itself on the back for including transparency when it's actually one of the most opaque administrations on such issues is simply ridiculous.


  • What's not in the report. It's really quite stunning what's completely missing from the report. The omissions are quite telling, however. The report appears to completely skip over what happened with SOPA/PIPA. I mean, it's as if the widespread public backlash and outrage didn't happen at all. SOPA and PIPA are barely mentioned at all, and when they are, it's only to mention briefly how random parts of those bills (not the main parts) included little bits and pieces of the White House's legislative agenda on IP around "greater information sharing." How can a report on the state of IP enforcement completely leave out the biggest thing that's happened in IP enforcement in decades? The fact that the public has stood up and said enough is enough on greater expansion of making the government Hollywood's private business model protection service. That's a huge event and to completely ignore it is quite telling.

    Similarly, the report completely ignores last year's realization of the serious problems with Homeland Security's ICE's Operation in Our Sites, the program to seize and censor websites based on mere shreds of evidence. While the report does mention Operation In Our Sites multiple times, it's only to self-congratulate itself for such censorship. What it does not mention is that the program resulted in the wrongful seizure and censorship of sites based on faulty evidence, or the fact that it is still illegally censoring a few websites, despite not having filed for forfeiture, as required by the law.

    In fact, the report seems so ashamed of the November 2010 seizures -- which resulted in all three of the domains in question being seized -- is completely skipped over in the discussion. They discuss the seizures before that one (in the summer of 2010) as well as the operations in 2011 -- but the infamous November 2010 seizure round is simply being written out of history.

    I'd have a lot more respect for Espinel and IPEC if it would actually admit that they fucked up royally with some of these seizures, and then was willing to publicly explain what went wrong, why it went wrong and what the White House is doing to prevent such bogus seizures and censorship from ever occurring again. Instead? It just pretends it never happened at all. That's shameful behavior.


  • "Voluntary best practices." The report talks up how there have been a variety of private sector "voluntary best practices" that were "facilitated by the IPEC." This includes things like the infamous "six strikes" plan that the ISPs have agreed to. While "private sector" solutions are good, what this leaves out is that the "facilitated by the IPEC" part was more about effectively threatening the ISPs that if they didn't come up with a plan, that it might show up in a law instead. Separately, the problem with "voluntary best practices" like this are that they really do seem to border on government-sponsored collusion. Getting all of the industry's largest players in a room to make agreements on who to do business with, who to censor and why... and without having it go through government review to avoid abuse? That's generally something the government used to be against. Why is it for collusion in these cases?


  • "A data driven government." The report tries to suggest that the government is being more data driven, and less faith-based in its efforts, but that's belied by the fact that nowhere is any effort being made to empirically look at the effectiveness of this enforcement on "promoting the progress." Instead, the "data" the report talks about is the data on how they've taken the same budget and "turned it into a more than 33 percent increase in seizures, arrests, and investigations of counterfeit and pirated merchandise in FY 2010." But if those seizures, arrests and investigations are doing more harm than good, or are leading to false accusations, censorship and bogus (taxpayer-expensed) lawsuits, isn't that a problem? Shouldn't IPEC be exploring that?

    Separately, it notes that the federal government is conducting an "economic analysis." That's good, right? But it's not conducting an economic analysis on the effectiveness of this enforcement. Instead, it's conducting an economic study that, by the very setup of the study, is completely missing the point. It's actually designed to miss the point by starting with the assumption that greater IP is a good thing:
    At the request of the IPEC, the U S Government is for the first time conducting an economic analysis, led by DOC, the Economic and Statistics Administration (“ESA”), and the USPTO, working with chief economists across the Federal government, to identify the industries that most intensively produce intellectual property and to measure the importance of those industries to the U S economy This broad study will examine all sectors of our economy We believe that improved measurement of intellectual property linked to measurements of economic performance will help the U S Government understand the role and breadth of intellectual property in the American economy and will inform policy and resource decisions related to intellectual property enforcement
    And, no, I don't know why the report seems to do away with the grammatical icon known as "the period" at the end of sentences. Perhaps it was too expensive to license. Either way, notice that this study seems to assume, without evidence, that industries that "produce" intellectual property automatically require intellectual property laws and protectionism. Figuring out which industries produce a lot of intellectual property says nothing about whether or not those industries actually need intellectual property laws, or if those laws are helpful or harmful. When you set up to study something based on faulty assumptions, the end results will not be helpful.
All in all the report clearly tries to paint a rosy picture, but in leaving out the failures and being quite misleading in other parts, this really is a work of fiction, not reality.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:11pm

    Kudos to the copyright Luddites and their improved transparencies. At some point, a nimble young staffer will get Powerpoint installed and a proper projector, allowing these entities to do a professional-looking presentation, rather than flipping through a folder filled with transparencies, each one more opaque than the last, periodically blinding the room as they swap out "slides" for ones they accidentally dropped on the floor only moments ago!

    To the transparent future! May it be as see-through as that time when the homeless guy washed your windshield using only his sleeve and good old fashioned elbow grease! (Literally.)

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    Opacity

    "Patting itself on the back for including transparency when it's actually one of the most opaque administrations on such issues is simply ridiculous."
    By this they mean they have used the word 'transparency' with is 1/100000 of a step in a direction...

    ""A data driven government.""
    See: "Christian Science" -- delivering faith based scientific conclusions you can believe in!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    Periods...

    Mike, obviously they didn't have any periods because they were all stolen by pirates.

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    "Greater information sharing between departments [but not the public] should aid us in pushing through unpopular legislation, such as SOPA and PIPA, with as little resistance as possible. Also, the Operation In Our Sites, um, operation continues as planned, with greater proactivity and such. Although there were a few missteps, such as pretty much every seizure last year, we feel confident in its continued proactivity and, um, operation."

     

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  5.  
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    Keii (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Periods...

    I noticed you've used quite a few of these periods, mind telling us where you obtained them from?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Periods...

    I paid for them originally but I had to break the DRM before they were of any use.

     

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  7.  
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    TDR, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Opacity

    Not to go off topic, Lobo, but I would direct you to cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, quantum physics, microbiology, geophysics, paleontology, archeology, geology, genetics, neuroscience, biology, and biochemistry would like to have a word with you. From a logical standpoint, given a God-created universe and a God-inspired written message with over 1,500 verses that specifically talk about the natural world, it is only logical that God's world and God's word would speak the same message.

    You yourself start from a position of bias that you are unwilling to admit, from a position that automatically accepts that the biblical God does not exist. That invalidates any claim of impartiality you may have, as well as any accusations of partiality you make toward others.

    To be truly objective, one must allow for all possibilities, both natural and supernatural.

    You also operate from a flawed definition of what faith is. Faith in the Christian sense is not blind belief, but rather based on knowledge and experience. You yourself, like everyone, operates on such faith without even realizing it. For example:

    You have faith that your car will run as it always does every time you drive.
    You have faith that your computer will work every time you turn it on.
    You have faith that your body will continue to work.
    You have faith that cities will still be where they have always been.
    You have faith that you can find what you're looking for at the store.
    You have faith that the people you know in real life are really like what you see of them.
    You have faith that the people you interact with here and elsewhere online are, for the most part, who they say they are.

    Real faith is a combination of both knowledge and action. Knowing what you believe and taking whatever action is needed, such as maintaining your car to keep it running. By maintaining your car, for example, your faith in its continued smooth functioning is also maintained. In the case of Christian faith, it is no different. Through the grace of God through Jesus' death and resurrection comes salvation, accepting that for yourself is the first step of faith. Living according to his standard and allowing yourself to see how he interacts in your life is the action part.

    In closing, I ask you one thing. Why are you so afraid of God that you won't even mention him by name? This isn't to put you down, but to help you start to look at yourself inside. Step away from what you think you know for a minute. And one other thing. You might want to stop using bad examples of "Christians" who really are not as an excuse to run away from God. You can't get away from him no matter how far you are. Jonah learned that quite well. I hope you do to.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    Re:

    I'm not much on conspiracies, so I'm going to chalk it up to memes. Someone, somewhere, hoped that by claiming record levels of transparency people would just believe. That person was not immediately lampooned enough so every other IP maximalist and politician is using this meme. It's like 4chan or reddit, only in the political world.

     

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    Digitari, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Periods...

    for some, they come naturally, once a month, just save them up

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    Oh bloody hell. We have one of THOSE people.

     

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  11.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    Here's one: try some evidence, dude. No, not your stupid book. "The bible is the word of god because it says so in the bible." Retarded.
    This site is not, and should not be, your pulpit.
    I have lots of Christian friends, and NONE of them would stoop to preach to me, much less to someone they don't even know. You want a bad example of a christian? Look in the mirror. Self-rightous jerk.

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Periods...

    I looked at the title...

    And I gotta wonder...

    Is it that time of the month for you?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Periods...

    Fortunately for me I don't have that luxury... er... I mean problem.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:18pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    So your god is a him...and you can't get away from HIM no matter how far you are!

    It sounds like an abusive relationship

    How are you so sure it is a him? Do you picture him as white too? And old?

    You are not supposed to speak the name of the lord, so Lobo, not mentioning YAWEH, is respectful, yet you ask why he does not commit this blasphemy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    "You also operate from a flawed definition of what faith is. Faith in the Christian sense is not blind belief, but rather based on knowledge and experience"

    I'm sorry, but that's the complete opposite of faith. Faith is belief/conviction without evidence. I have knowledge that my car will continue to work if I maintain it, that's my evidence of it lasting. Faith would be never bringing you car in, ever, and expecting it to work every day.

    Your religion has neither knowledge nor experience. I'm not knocking it, to each their own no matter how misguided it appears to others, but you seem to think that being objective involves having to believe in what you believe in, without grasping the fact that your belief is just one of, oh, about 7 billion others that all have the exact same odds of being right. It's not that your point of view is ignored, it's just that it's put up there with all the other points of view, instead of being front and centre like you appear to want it to be.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    "You have faith that your computer will work every time you turn it on."
    Buddy, I run Gentoo. So no, no I don't.

     

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    Benjo (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    more like TLDR.

    Stop trying to save me.

     

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  18.  
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    Rapnel (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    Real faith is bestowed upon those that believe in their own intellect. Blind faith is a scourge of nations and peoples. You dare assume that blind faith grants you the ability to derive the meaning of faith for others?

    The omnipotent powers of creation are all around you. Recognition is not faith rather a cognizant grasp of your being.

    Refrain from taking others to task if they do not see as you do, do not fear as you do, do not believe as you do for you are not the Messenger and as such you foul the message.

    Demand justice. For ours is the power of delivery and if we can not deliver justice than we can not deliver ourselves unto ourselves.

    You have been served.

    Good day.

     

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  19.  
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    DRH, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    TDR, I myself love what you have written here. I am curious if you could please share your thoughts, in regards to living according to Gods standard? I believe that I am saved, but I carry guilt because I know that I am a sinner. I always get caught in my own catch-22 with this. Just would like to know some more of your thoughts...

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    Not to go off topic


    Then don't.

    Trust a bible-thumper to say they're not going to do something, and then go an do it anyway.

    What you wrote is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. You demonstrated the most profound lack of understanding of any of the subjects you mentioned, and everyone at this site is now dumber for having read it.

    There's a term to describe you: "Liars for Jesus."

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Why do I sense a baited trap here? Anyway, this actually provides a perfect backdrop for me to address his prior comment:

    @TDR: As I was raised with an institution with a similar perspective to the one to which you subscribe, I am familiar with the perspective from which you speak, so let me point out something from your beliefs that you may not have considered. I know ascribe to the biblical commandment to "Go forth and teach" however, given that in every example given in the Bible of Christ teaching the masses, his perspective was REQUESTED by those who received it. And as the purpose of the commandment is to spread the faith pushing your unsolicited views on those that have not requested them contrary to the examples set forth in the scripture is likely to be counter productive and generally cause disdain among those that receive it. And as the New Testament also teaches that "The first commandment is to love your God with all your heart and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All other commandments stem from these." Clearly causing your neighbor disdain by interjecting you personal beliefs where they are not requested contrary to the examples set forth by your Lord in the scripture on which you base your faith, not only does not stem from this but is in direct contradiction.

    Although this forum is open and inviting to all points of view for commentary, it is not a forum as advertised for debate of religious dogma and therefore your previous comments (until the comment to which I am replying were entered) were unsolicited so proceed if you wish otherwise go forth and repent.

     

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  22.  
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    Torg (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re: Opacity

    "From a logical standpoint, given a God-created universe and a God-inspired written message with over 1,500 verses that specifically talk about the natural world, it is only logical that God's world and God's word would speak the same message."

    Yes, given those things, such a conclusion is logical. It's unfortunate that we haven't found a God-created universe yet, but such is life.

    "You yourself start from a position of bias that you are unwilling to admit, from a position that automatically accepts that the biblical God does not exist. That invalidates any claim of impartiality you may have, as well as any accusations of partiality you make toward others."

    Not every atheist was raised atheist, you know. Some of us spent a good portion of our lives trying to twist our brains into the same pretzel our parents had twisted theirs into. I, myself, independently reinvented deism at the age of twelve in an attempt to justify a belief in God. My current atheism is in spite of a bias towards God, not because of a bias against him.

    "To be truly objective, one must allow for all possibilities, both natural and supernatural."

    One must also be willing to accurately evaluate the probabilities of differing explanations based on other knowledge. For example, if I were to say that grass appears green because the sky is green and the grass is just reflecting it, then someone dismissing my claim because they know the sky to be blue is performing an objective analysis. If I respond to that person by claiming that if the sky weren't green the grass would have nothing to reflect, I'm just being an idiot.

    "You have faith that the people you interact with here and elsewhere online are, for the most part, who they say they are."

    No, I don't. I know that they say they are who they say they are. I don't give a rat's ass who they really are, because that's not who I'm talking to.

    "You have faith that your body will continue to work."

    No, I don't, and as soon as I can afford to and the parts are on the market I fully intend to replace all my organs with more reliable manmade alternatives. Until then I'm grateful for every day my piece-of-shit heart hasn't given out.

    "You have faith that your computer will work every time you turn it on."

    No, I don't. I learned how to fix computers so I wouldn't need faith.

    "You have faith that cities will still be where they have always been."

    No, I don't, which is why I don't like seeing our government antagonizing China or Russia.

    "You have faith that you can find what you're looking for at the store."

    I have plenty of prior experience that leads me to believe that an open store has things to buy, but if I'm looking for a specific thing I try not to predict its presence before confirming it. After all, I have plenty of experience with stores not having a particular item.

    "You have faith that the people you know in real life are really like what you see of them."

    I'm not even sure what that means. I know that they make good conversation and I enjoy being around them, except for the ones I don't. What does faith have to do with it?

    "Living according to his standard and allowing yourself to see how he interacts in your life is the action part."

    How is that in any way like maintaining a car? If anything it's more like acknowledging that I have a car.

    "Why are you so afraid of God that you won't even mention him by name?"

    The only ones afraid of God are the ones who think he'll send them to Hell. If someone else doesn't use his name, it's because they think using a different word serves the point better, not because they think invoking your deity's name will bring its wrath down upon them or burn their vocal cords or whatever you think they're afraid of.

    "You might want to stop using bad examples of "Christians" who really are not as an excuse to run away from God."

    How about a good one, then? One of the most important parts of my deconversion was when I was reading through the Bible in an attempt to reinforce my faith, and instead found the Book of Job.

    "You can't get away from him no matter how far you are. Jonah learned that quite well. I hope you do to."

    Jonah never left the Mediterranean. I'd hardly call that far. Besides, nowadays we have medications to rid people of disembodied voices that follow them wherever they go.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Not sure that scientific logic and reason works with them so I chose to explain things in a language they understand. ;)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:50pm

    Re:

    You techdirt pirates clearly don't know the first thing about transparency. The TPP negotiations are even more transparent than glass!

    No matter how hard you look, you won't see anything. That's what transparency means!

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    But the color of all things is merely the perception of light either generated or reflected by it. The sky is not blue but only appears to be due to the reflection of the blue spectrum of light from the sun that was first reflected by the water in the oceans.

     

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    Torg (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Yes, I know how color works. That doesn't change that its color is not the same as the color of grass. (Also, you're wrong about the cause; it's the gases in the atmosphere that make it blue, not a reflection of the ocean)

    I don't really expect them to change their minds when presented with logic, I just like the fun of arguing without the challenge. I also played through Halo on easy and memorized the money cheat for Zoo Tycoon. Why work for something when it can be handed to you?

     

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  27.  
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    Idwal (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    What was it about Job that flicked off the lightswitch?

    I'm curious, because if I was going to pick something objectionable out of the Bible, I'd expect Job to be pretty far down the list.

     

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    Torg (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 9:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Torturing (or at least specifically endorsing the torture of) an incredibly pious follower on a bet with the devil struck me as objectionable for some reason. Call me crazy, but I think that if your child says that they love you, you should respond in kind, rather than saying "prove it", throwing their teddy bear in a fire, destroying their bedroom, and giving them smallpox.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Periods...

    Stolen as in theft? The same kind of theft that occurs with media files, you mean? Where afterwards there's they and we have them? Oops.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 11:34pm

    While "private sector" solutions are good, what this leaves out is that the "facilitated by the IPEC" part was more about effectively threatening the ISPs that if they didn't come up with a plan, that it might show up in a law instead.


    So why don't the ISPs risk this rather than alienating their customers. Sure (at least post-SOPA) people would be outraged enough at such ineffective laws to make the government back down?

     

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  31.  
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    brandon, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 12:39am

    In all honestly the protests against SOPA have resulted in a much worse outcome the ISP plan comes right down to every individual person and all of that info can be used by the movie & music industry in court where as SOPA was targeting sites.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 12:41am

    Re: Re: Periods...

    Yes of course. Didn't you know? They were appropriated by Disney from the public domain in the 1940's so no one could use them any more without paying for them and they put them back in their vault 3 years ago so we will have to wait at least 4 more years before they will consider taking them out again so that people can buy any more.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 12:57am

    Response to: brandon on Mar 31st, 2012 @ 12:39am

    The nefarious ISP plan wasn't as a result of the SOPA protests but rather something they had in mind in addition to legislative efforts. Just like ACTA, which has been in the works for years, this plan was put in effect way before January 18th. They wage their war on the the Constitution on many fronts and this but one of many of their misdeeds.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 1:28am

    " Saying you're transparent and actually being transparent are two different things."

    Its called a lie

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 1:50am

    "We believe that improved measurement of intellectual property linked to measurements of economic performance will help the U S Government understand the role and breadth of intellectual property in the American economy and will inform policy and resource decisions related to intellectual property enforcement"

    So essentiallly, they admit they're not sure what they are doing, but that they are sure enought already to know that whatever it is, it already needs enforcement.

    sigh (with a touch of hopelessness, bordering on the brink of anger)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re:

    you have the right of that, matey! oh'arrr

     

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    Roger, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 2:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Zzzzz.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 3:37am

    so, having established that this report is a one sided pack of lies and bullshit, is anyone with clout going to say/do anything about it, or will it just be forgotten about?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 5:49am

    WIPO studies

    We found these WIPO studies to be of use in the first instance:

    http://www.wipo.int/ip-development/en/creative_industry/economic_contribution.html

    T here already is a study on the US copyright-based industries in there, and we understand that it is up-dated every year or other year.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Our journal is doing a piece on IP and changes in the last 3 yrs at the International level. We are on the chapter on WIPO: It is a myth to believe that WIPO is transparent. In fact they uphold the same principle as saying there is transparency when in fact there seems to be just superficial pronouncements. While we are extremely interested in all substantive issues of IP development, our research and interviews are showing us that the organisation is being reformed very much on the 'teachings' of the UK, US, and naturally Australia wish lists. Australia for example is vying for the UN Security Council and have invested many millions in getting countries votes. It recently gave WIPO $2 million for development activities but when we asked where this money was actually going we could not get a response. The reform taking place at WIPO also seems to have promoted the ASEAN countries (we also understand N. Korea), very much to the detriment of the African and to some extent the Latin American countires (including the personnel). For example, the newly recruited professionals are very much Brits, Chinese, South Koreans, European, and Americans. The handful of Indians are given Admin posts or the like. Reform at the international level is taking place, quietly but surely. The sounds of ACTA, TPP, SOPA, etc. will soon seep into the multilateral fora. Give them time to place their 'people' in place and then the 'transparency' everyone wished for, they will get. Transparency as interpreted in the US Report above. It will be too late for sincere changes in the IP system as once was promised, (i.e. the original objective of the WIPO Development Agenda now hijacked for other reasons), as the pro-stronger IP players and their interests will be protected in such organisations. If one were to scratch the surface one will find more collusion-type behaviour than ever before. We hope to get access to much more supporting evidence and look forward to this website's constructive discussions on all related international IP developments.

     

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    Yoshord, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    The sky is blue only because the ocean is blue. But the ocean is blue only because the sky is blue. But the sky is blue only because the ocean is blue. But the ocean is blue only because the sky is blue. But the sky is blue only because the ocean is blue. But the ocean...
    So, which came first? The blue sky or the blue ocean?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    The point is that color is merely the perception of specific wave lengths of light. Anything that doesn't generate that light, doesn't actually have color because if those wave lengths of light were not present, the color would not be perceived yet it would still exist. So if the color of these things exists then perception IS reality and therefore if God is perceived then God exists and he just conceded his argument in trying to disprove it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    ie. The sky is not blue. And to say that the sky is blue because it is perceived to be is to allow the argument that God exists because someone perceives it to be true.

     

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    Torg (profile), Mar 31st, 2012 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    "The sky is blue" is, indeed, an objective statement, as the phrase "is blue", in scientific terms, means that the thing in question favors wavelengths of 475 nm over others. Grass, on the other hand, primarily reflects light of wavelength 510 nm. This could be verified even by a society of blind people.

    And, again, you're totally wrong about where the color of the sky comes from. It has nothing at all to do with the color of the ocean. Look up Rayleigh scattering.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Does light that is perceived when looking at the sky originate from the sky? No. So the color is not a property of the sky regardless of why the color perceived is blue. However if the sun radiates light so the color is a property of the sun.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    And I forgot about Rayleigh scattering so I concede that point as to why the sky APPEARS TO BE blue even though it actually is absent of color. :-)

     

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    Torg (profile), Mar 31st, 2012 @ 11:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Grass doesn't radiate light either. How you define a thing's color would be the downfall of descriptive language if it were widely adopted. "is blue" has always been shorthand for "predominately reflects light of about a 475 nm wavelength"; that's why we can use the term to describe things that aren't glowing. The tiger is orange, the grass is green, the blood is red. Those words have never applied exclusively to things that produce their own light, and besides that this whole thing has nothing to do with grass and sky sharing a color.

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 1st, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Opacity

    "You have faith that your car will run as it always does every time you drive."

    I have a repair kit, battery jumper cables and an AAA card because I know it won't sooner or later.

    "You have faith that your computer will work every time you turn it on."

    I'm on my second OS because the other one got screwed up by a windows update. I'm also a Comp Sci major and well versed in just how easily everything can go wrong.

    "You have faith that your body will continue to work."

    Nope. That situation is constantly monitored and there have been a few cases where I was seriously worried. I also am aware that as I get older, it will inevitably fail.

    "You have faith that cities will still be where they have always been."

    Nope. Cities rise and fall over time. However, I can generally bet on the news reporters not being able to keep their jobs if they failed to report on a disappearing city. This means that they will almost certainly report any such happenings.

    "You have faith that you can find what you're looking for at the store."

    That's just plain ridiculous. I expect the store to go out of business if it stops carrying the type of goods it has always carried in the past, but specific items can disappear at any point.

    "You have faith that the people you know in real life are really like what you see of them."

    I expect them to have a whole list of pathos that I don't see, but know that societal pressure will keep them in line (not killing people) for the most part. I am well aware of the indicators that they have started ignoring that pressure and am constantly on the lookout for those indicators.

    "You have faith that the people you interact with here and elsewhere online are, for the most part, who they say they are."

    I understand that most people will try and cultivate an identity to be associated with a name of their choosing. I never ask them who they really are. It is rather surprising how easy it can be to identify alt accounts and impersonators.



    Finally, I am not an atheist. I just filed the god question away as unsolvable in this lifetime. I'd also ask, what makes you so sure there can be only one? You deny only one more god than the atheists do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2012 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    That is exactly what I was doing - questioning the common definition of the word color from a logical perspective. And I never said that the did share the same perceived color. Only that since neither radiate the light that is perceived, the light and without light color doesn't exist, their "color" is not a their property. Also the fact that it is a common definition does not help your argument in the same way that the fact that the existence of God is a common belief, doesn't make it true either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2012 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Take for instance, the color of the sun that does radiate it's own light. Is it yellow, or orange. Does it change color at dawn and dusk? It appears to because of the same Rayleigh scattering, that makes the sky appear blue. It IS in fact white. To say that it is yellow or orange at any of those times would be to say that wearing "rose-colored" glasses actually changes the color of the objects perceived.

     

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    Torg (profile), Apr 1st, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Absorption and reflection of particular wavelengths is a property. With your Sun example, I'll grant perceived color, but not the sky or grass.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    I agree that absorption and reflection are properties. But not that they are analogous with color but rather are properties affect it the perception of it.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 1st, 2012 @ 5:37pm

    Re: ...it is only logical that God's world and God's word would speak the same message.

     

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    TDR, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    Yes, given those things, such a conclusion is logical. It's unfortunate that we haven't found a God-created universe yet, but such is life.

    You can see one just by looking around you, Torg. The statistical probability of a universe without a Creator is so small as to be impossible. Or do you think a Coke can somehow makes itself? We're creative because our Creator is.

    Not every atheist was raised atheist, you know. Some of us spent a good portion of our lives trying to twist our brains into the same pretzel our parents had twisted theirs into. I, myself, independently reinvented deism at the age of twelve in an attempt to justify a belief in God. My current atheism is in spite of a bias towards God, not because of a bias against him.

    I'm aware of that. And by describing the faith as a pretzel, it seems you never really understood it at all, because it's really quite simple. Maybe it was presented differently to you, but the basic fact is that by nature we're fallen and separated from God. Jesus brings us back to him through the cross and the resurrection, thereby giving us what we need if we accept it - a new nature. Perfect goodness requires perfect justice, which in turn requires the punishment of wrongdoing. And his perfect love requires a way to save us, hence Jesus becoming our sin instead and then raising from the dead to overcome it.

    "One must also be willing to accurately evaluate the probabilities of differing explanations based on other knowledge. For example, if I were to say that grass appears green because the sky is green and the grass is just reflecting it, then someone dismissing my claim because they know the sky to be blue is performing an objective analysis. If I respond to that person by claiming that if the sky weren't green the grass would have nothing to reflect, I'm just being an idiot."

    I'm not one to quote Scripture much because I know people who don't like it generally will just gloss over it or skip it, but I'm going to do so here to address your point because it needs to be said:

    "I tested everything in my search for wisdom." -Ecclesiastes 7:23

    "Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it's from God or whether I'm making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn't tamper with reality." -John 7:17-18

    "Don't be nitpickers; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right." -John 7:24

    "Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out." -2 Corinthians 13:5-6

    "My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you." -1 John 4:1

    Test first, and then draw conclusions? That sounds an awful lot like the scientific method to me. In short, God doesn't ask us to check our brains at the door, so don't ever think he does. In the words of the High Aldwin from Willow: "Forget all you know, or think you know."

    No, I don't. I know that they say they are who they say they are. I don't give a rat's ass who they really are, because that's not who I'm talking to.

    No, I don't, and as soon as I can afford to and the parts are on the market I fully intend to replace all my organs with more reliable manmade alternatives. Until then I'm grateful for every day my piece-of-shit heart hasn't given out.

    The fact that you resort to sullenness rather than civility undermines your argument and your position. And your comments here don't make any sense anyway. You also misinterpreted what I said, though I could have made it clearer, I suppose. But as for the body, you get up out of bed everyday, yes? And eat? And all that? Then you have faith that your body isn't going to suddenly act out as long as you maintain it and do what is within your ability to do to keep it so. That's what I meant. Faith is knowing, based on action and character, either your own action or that of others - or in the case of God, his.

    I'm not even sure what that means. I know that they make good conversation and I enjoy being around them, except for the ones I don't. What does faith have to do with it?

    What I meant was that you have faith that the people you know aren't really, for example, the total opposite of what you think they are. Or have hidden agendas you know nothing about. As I said above, faith is knowing, based on action and character and experience.

    How is that in any way like maintaining a car? If anything it's more like acknowledging that I have a car.

    That's exactly the point. Acknowledging that you have a God, in this case.

    The only ones afraid of God are the ones who think he'll send them to Hell. If someone else doesn't use his name, it's because they think using a different word serves the point better, not because they think invoking your deity's name will bring its wrath down upon them or burn their vocal cords or whatever you think they're afraid of.

    That's only a surface explanation. But you have to look underneath, at the motivations. Why choose not to acknowledge him? Because to do so is to also acknowledge one's own faults and that he knows better than we do. To do so is to humble oneself, and that's hard for people to do sometimes. What people are afraid of when they're afraid of God is the exposure of what they've done wrong, not any wrath of God. Again, your view of God seems to have been misled and distorted for a long time.

    "How about a good one, then? One of the most important parts of my deconversion was when I was reading through the Bible in an attempt to reinforce my faith, and instead found the Book of Job."

    And? What is your issue with that story?

    "Jonah never left the Mediterranean. I'd hardly call that far. Besides, nowadays we have medications to rid people of disembodied voices that follow them wherever they go."

    Again you misunderstand me, and the nature of God. He isn't bound to our four-dimensional universe. It's understandable that you'd think of him as being part of it because we are. But he is not. He interacts with it, but exists beyond all time, space, matter, and energy. All four of those are finite, but he isn't. More than 3 dimensions of space exist, as do more than just the one dimension of time we are capable of experiencing. This has been shown and proven scientifically and mathematically - see string theory, cosmology, astronomy, and astrophysics, for example.

    In short, God touches every point in space simultaneously. And not only that, but also every point in time as well. God is not only everywhere, he is also everywhen. He has no past or future, he is always Now. He is the Father speaking to Moses from the burning bush, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit acting today all at the same time. That's just one example. And that is why we can't go to someplace he is not, because he is everywhere, everywhen.

    This might seem outlandish and hard to believe, but consider subatomic particles. We know from quantum physics that such a particle can be measured to be in multiple locations at the same time, and even to be moving at multiple velocities at the same time. If we can accept that subatomic particles can exhibit such characteristics, is it really such a stretch to accept a God whose abilities are not so very different, merely vast extensions upon this principle? I don't believe so.

    Imagine things from God's point of view for a minute. He doesn't see things as we do, because as I said, he isn't bound to a single point of space and time as we are. He's right here now, and he's Jesus preaching in Galilee at the same time, and he's the Father giving the commandments on Sinai again at the same time. Just another example. Forget the Greco-Roman view of godhood, it isn't accurate at all. And in response to another poster, I don't have a preconceived image of God, because there's no way anything I could imagine could come close. His nature is just so different.

     

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    Torg (profile), Apr 5th, 2012 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Opacity

    "The statistical probability of a universe without a Creator is so small as to be impossible."

    Actually, it's just so small that it would take a very, very long time to happen. It's provably possible for a universe to arise out of nothing but basic physical laws. To preempt you, demanding to know what defined those laws is about as good an argument as asking where God came from, and I'd rather not have that debate.

    "And by describing the faith as a pretzel, it seems you never really understood it at all, because it's really quite simple."

    I know how simple it is. That doesn't mean it doesn't turn your brain into a ball of contradictions and cognitive biases that Escher would have been proud to have painted. Pull just about any entry from this list and there's a good chance that the religious show signs of it when defending their faith.

    "Jesus brings us back to him through the cross and the resurrection, thereby giving us what we need if we accept it - a new nature."

    And why do I want that particular cure? I know my flaws, and I know that being human is one of them, but there are ways to fix that without abandoning all pretense of logical thinking.

    "Test first, and then draw conclusions? That sounds an awful lot like the scientific method to me. In short, God doesn't ask us to check our brains at the door, so don't ever think he does."

    God's been asking us to check our brains at the door ever since our tests became sophisticated enough to come back negative. I'm well aware that people used to both expect and see evidence of divinity in their lives; I've read accounts of missionaries in centuries past using what in those days passed as empirical tests to convert people. Nowadays, however, we're better at correcting for experimental error, and there are a lot of scientists with an emotional investment in proving God's existence. That none of them have is telling, and that most religious people now feel the need to protect their God from falsification is even more so.

    "But as for the body, you get up out of bed everyday, yes? And eat? And all that? Then you have faith that your body isn't going to suddenly act out as long as you maintain it and do what is within your ability to do to keep it so. That's what I meant."

    I do not have faith that my body isn't going to suddenly act out; didn't you read what I said? I know that my body has a better chance of not acting out if I maintain its systems to a certain minimum standard, and I'm just hoping that none of them decide to stop working before I can trade up for an intelligently designed equivalent. I have no faith at all in a system that's prone to sudden failure and provides positive feedback for things that reduce its functionality, it's just that the only current alternative to maintaining that system is dying.

    "What I meant was that you have faith that the people you know aren't really, for example, the total opposite of what you think they are. Or have hidden agendas you know nothing about."

    Not really. I don't care what other people are like on the inside, because I'm interacting with their outside, and keeping a single layer of identity straight is hard enough. Mostly I just remember everything they've told me and ask for clarification when there's an inconsistency.

    "That's exactly the point. Acknowledging that you have a God, in this case."

    And I don't have a car either, so the comparison is apt.

    "And? What is your issue with that story?"

    God tells Satan, "Look at this dude, he's really pious and always prays to me and gives me sacrifices and stuff. I think he's my favorite human."
    Satan says, "Mind if I destroy everything he's ever loved, ruining him financially, emotionally and physically?"
    Your just and ever-loving God responds, "Nah, go ahead. It's not like he'll stop worshiping me. Just don't kill him, okay?"
    There is something very wrong with that picture.

    "Again you misunderstand me, and the nature of God. He isn't bound to our four-dimensional universe."

    That's fine, it would be stupid if an omnipotent being was bound in such a way. Just don't go saying that a guy failing to hide in a house, in a boat, and in a whale is proof of that. He wouldn't be able to hide from me in any of those places either if I had one of those tags they use to track dolphins, and he wouldn't be able to hide from schizophrenia if he independently invented a generation ship and fled the Milky Way. Even if his account were honest it wouldn't be a very strong support for your conclusion.

    "Imagine things from God's point of view for a minute. He doesn't see things as we do, because as I said, he isn't bound to a single point of space and time as we are. He's right here now, and he's Jesus preaching in Galilee at the same time, and he's the Father giving the commandments on Sinai again at the same time."

    That's good. I never thought of God any other way. But when you bring up Jonas and say that he couldn't escape God no matter how far he fled, there's an implication there that Jonas fled far. If he didn't, then that claim is like if I were to take five steps without leaving my dorm and conclude that my dorm encompasses the whole of reality.

     

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    TDR, Apr 6th, 2012 @ 7:52am

    Actually, it's just so small that it would take a very, very long time to happen. It's provably possible for a universe to arise out of nothing but basic physical laws. To preempt you, demanding to know what defined those laws is about as good an argument as asking where God came from, and I'd rather not have that debate.

    God defined those laws, just as he did the laws of physics and every other part of nature. And as for how possible a universe not made by God is, here's some detailed information about just how incredibly fine-tuned our universe really is, from an article by Dr. Hugh Ross:

    "Recently, it has become possible not only to investigate the transcendence of the Creator, but also to investigate something of His personality. Now that the limits and parameters of the universe have come within the measuring capacity of astronomers and physicists, the design characteristics of the universe are being examined and acknowledged; Astronomers have discovered that the characteristics and parameters of the universe and our solar system are so finely tuned to support life that nothing less than a personal, intelligent Creator can explain the degree of fine-tunedness. It requires power and purpose.

    Approximately two dozen parameters of the universe have been identified that must be carefully fixed in order for any kind of conceivable life (not just life as we know it) to exist at any time in the history of the universe. Some examples of these are given in Table 5.

    Table 5: Evidence for design in the universe101 - 110

    1. gravitational coupling constant

    if larger: no stars less than 1.4 solar masses, hence short stellar lifespans
    if smaller: no stars more than 0.8 solar masses, hence no heavy element production

    2. strong nuclear force coupling constant

    if larger: no hydrogen; nuclei essential for life are unstable
    if smaller: no elements other than hydrogen

    3. weak nuclear force coupling constant

    if larger: all hydrogen is converted to helium in the big hang, hence too much heavy elements
    if smaller: no helium produced from big bang, hence not enough heavy elements

    4. electromagnetic coupling constant

    if larger: no chemical bonding; elements more massive than boron are unstable to fission
    if smaller: no chemical bonding

    5. ratio of protons to electrons

    if larger: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation
    if smaller: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation

    6. ratio of electron to proton mass

    if larger: no chemical bonding
    if smaller: no chemical bonding

    7. expansion rate of the universe

    if larger: no galaxy formation
    if smaller: universe collapses prior to star formation

    8. entropy level of the universe

    if larger: no star condensation within the proto-galaxies
    if smaller: no proto-galaxy formation

    9. mass density of the universe

    if larger: too much deuterium from big bang, hence stars bum too rapidly
    if smaller: no helium from big bang, hence not enough heavy elements

    10. age of the universe

    if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase in the right part of the galaxy
    if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed

    11. initial uniformity of radiation

    if smoother: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed
    if coarser: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space

    12. average distance between stars

    if larger: heavy element density too thin for rocky planet production
    if smaller: planetary orbits become destabilized

    13. solar luminosity

    if increases too soon: runaway green house effect
    if increases too late: frozen oceans

    14. fine structure constant (a function of three other fundamental constants, Planck's constant, the velocity of light, and the electron charge each of which, therefore, must be fine-tuned)

    if larger: no stars more than 0.7 solar masses
    if smaller: no stars less than 1.8 solar masses

    15. decay rate of the proton

    if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
    if smaller: insufficient matter in the universe for life

    16. 12C to 16O energy level ratio

    if larger: insufficient oxygen
    if smaller: insufficient carbon

    17. decay rate of 8Be

    if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars
    if faster: no element production beyond beryllium and, hence, no life chemistry possible

    18. mass difference between the neutron and the proton

    if greater: protons would decay before stable nuclei could form
    if smaller: protons would decay before stable nuclei could form

    19. initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons

    if greater: too much radiation for planets to form
    if smaller: not enough matter for galaxies or stars to form

    The degree of fine-tunedness for many of these parameters is utterly amazing. For example, if the strong nuclear force were even two percent stronger or two percent weaker, the universe would never be able to support life.111, 112 More astounding yet, the ground state energies for 4He, 8Be, 12C, and 16O cannot be higher or lower with respect to each other by more than four percent without yielding a universe with insufficient oxygen and/or carbon for any kind of life.110 The expansion rate of the universe is even more sensitive.113 It must be fine-tuned to an accuracy of one part in 1055! Clearly some ingenious Designer must be involved in the physics of the universe.

    The discovery of this degree of design in the universe is having a profound theological impact upon astronomers. Fred Hoyle concluded in 1982 that "a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology."114 Paul Davies moved from promoting atheism in 1983115 to conceding in 1984 that "the laws [of physics] ... seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design"116 to testifying in his 1988 book The Cosmic Blueprint that there "is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. The impression of design is overwhelming."117

    Words such as superintellect, monkeyed, exceedingly ingenious, supernatural Agency, Supreme Being and providentially crafted obviously apply only to a Person. But, more than just establishing that the Creator is a Person, the findings about design provide evidence of what that Person is like. One characteristic that stands out dramatically in His interest and care for living things and particularly for the human race.

    For example, the mass density of the universe determines how efficiently nuclear fusion operates in the cosmos. As Table 5 indicates, if the mass density is too great, too much deuterium (a heavy isotope of hydrogen with one proton and one neutron in the nucleus) is made in the first few minutes of the universe's existence. This extra deuterium will cause all the stars to burn much too quickly and erratically for any of them to sup-port a planet with life upon it. On the other hand, if the mass density is too small, so little deuterium and helium is made in the first few minutes that the heavier elements necessary for life will never form in the stars. What this means is that the approximately one hundred billion trillion stars we observe in the universe, no more and no less, are needed for life to be possible in the universe. Evidently, God cared so much for living creatures that He constructed a hundred billion trillion stars and carefully crafted them throughout the age of the universe so that at this brief moment in the history of the cosmos humans could exist and have a pleasant place to live. Of all the gods of the various religions of the world, only the God of the Bible is revealed as investing this much (and more) in humanity.

    It is not just the universe that bears evidence for design. The sun and the earth also reveal such evidence. Frank Drake, Carl Sagan, and Iosef Shklovsky were among the first astronomers to make this point. They attempted to estimate the number of planets (in the universe) with environments favorable for life support. In the early 1960s they recognized that a certain kind of star with a planet just the right distance from that star would provide the necessary conditions for life.119 On this basis they made optimistic estimates for the probability of finding life elsewhere in the universe. Shklovsky and Sagan, for example, claimed that 0.001 percent of all stars could have a planet capable of supporting advanced life.120

    While their analysis was a step in the right direction, it overestimated the range of permissible star types and the range of permissible planetary distances. It also ignored many other significant factors. Some sample parameters sensitive for the support of life are listed in Table 6.

    Table 6: Evidence for the design of the sun-earth-moon system121 -139

    1. galaxy type

    if too elliptical: star formation ceases before sufficient heavy element buildup for life chemistry
    if too irregular: radiation exposure on occasion is too severe and/or heavy elements for life chemistry are not available.

    2. parent star distance from center of galaxy

    if farther: quantity of heavy elements would be insufficient to make rocky planets.
    if closer: stellar density and radiation would be too great.

    3. number of stars in the planetary system

    if more than one: tidal interactions would disrupt planetary orbits.
    if less than one: heat produced would be insufficient for life.

    4. parent star birth date

    if more recent: star would not yet have reached stable burning phase.
    if less recent: stellar system would not yet contain enough heavy elements.

    5. parent star age

    if older: luminosity of star would change too quickly.
    if younger: luminosity of star would change too quickly.

    6. parent star mass

    if greater: luminosity of star would change too quickly; star would bum too rapidly.
    if less: range of distances appropriate for life would be too narrow; tidal forces would disrupt the rotational period for a planet of the right distance; uv radiation would be inadequate for plants to make sugars and oxygen.

    7. parent star color

    if redder: photosynthetic response would be insufficient.
    if bluer: photosynthetic response would be insufficient.

    8. supernovae eruptions

    if too close: life on the planet would be exterminated.
    if too far: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rocky planets.
    if too infrequent: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rocky planets.
    if too frequent: life on the planet would be exterminated.

    9. white dwarf binaries

    if too few: insufficient fluorine produced for life chemistry to proceed
    if too many: disruption of planetary orbits from stellar density; life on the planet would be exterminated

    10. surface gravity (escape velocity)

    if stronger: atmosphere would retain too much ammonia and methane.
    if weaker: planet's atmosphere would lose too much water.

    11. distance from parent star

    if farther: planet would be too cool for a stable water cycle.
    if closer: planet would be too warm for a stable water cycle.

    12. inclination of orbit

    if too great: temperature differences on the planet would be too extreme.

    13. orbital eccentricity

    if too great: seasonal temperature differences would be too extreme.

    14. axial tilt

    if greater: surface temperature differences would be too great.
    if less: surface temperature differences would be too great.

    15. rotation period

    if longer: diurnal temperature differences would be too great.
    if shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would be too great.

    16. gravitational interaction with a moon

    if greater: tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe.
    if less: orbital obliquity changes would cause climatic instabilities.

    17. magnetic field

    if stronger: electromagnetic storms would be too severe.
    if weaker: inadequate protection from hard stellar radiation.

    18. thickness of crust

    if thicker: too much oxygen would be transferred from the atmosphere to the crust.
    if thinner: volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great.

    19. albedo (ratio of reflected light to total amount falling on surface)

    if greater: runaway ice age would develop.
    if less: runaway greenhouse effect would develop.

    20. oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere

    if larger: advanced life functions would proceed too quickly.
    if smaller: advanced life functions would proceed too slowly.

    21. carbon dioxide level in atmosphere

    if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop.
    if less: plants would not be able to maintain efficient photosynthesis.

    22. water vapor level in atmosphere

    if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop.
    if less: rainfall would be too meager for advanced life on the land.

    23. ozone level in atmosphere

    if greater: surface temperatures would be too low.
    if less: surface temperatures would be too high; there would be too much uv radiation at the surface.

    24. atmospheric electric discharge rate

    if greater: too much fire destruction would occur.
    if less: too little nitrogen would be fixed in the atmosphere.

    25. oxygen quantity in atmosphere

    if greater: plants and hydrocarbons would bum up too easily.
    if less: advanced animals would have too little to breathe.

    26. oceans to continents ratio

    if greater: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited.
    if smaller: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited.

    27. soil mineralization

    if too nutrient poor: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited.
    if too nutrient rich: diversity and complexity of life-forms would he limited.

    28. seismic activity

    if greater: too many life-forms would be destroyed.
    if less: nutrients on ocean floors (from river runoff) would not be recycled to the continents through tectonic uplift.

    Each of these 28 parameters cannot exceed certain limits without disturbing a planet's capacity to support life. For some, the limits have been measured quite precisely. This is typically the case for the stellar parameters. For others, the limits are more uncertain. This is typically the case for planetary parameters. Trillions of stars are available for study and star formation is quite well understood and observed. On the other hand, only nine planets can be studied, and though a fairly good theory of planetary formation is available, the details have yet to be worked out, nor can planetary formation be fully observed.

    To get a feel for how confining these limits can be, the least confining would be parameters #1, #3, and #12 which would eliminate respectively 30%, 60%, and 20% of all candidates from contention. More confining would be parameters such as #2, #13, #15, and #19 which eliminate respectively about 80%, 90%, 90%, 90%, and 90% of all candidates from contention. Most confining of all would be parameters such as #6, #9, #11, #18, #21, and #25 which eliminate respectively about 99.9%, 99.9%, 99.9%, 99%, 99%, and 99% of all candidates from contention.

    Of course, not all of the listed parameters are strictly independent of the others. Dependency factors could reduce the degree of confinement considerably. On the other hand, all these parameters must be kept within their limits for the total time spans needed for the support of life on a candidate planet. This will increase the degree of confinement.

    About a dozen more parameters, such as the atmospheric transparency, atmospheric pressure, atmospheric temperature gradient, other greenhouse gases, location of different gases and minerals, and mantle and core constituents and structures, currently are being researched for their sensitivity in the support of life. However, the 28 listed in Table 6 in themselves lead safely to the conclusion that much fewer than a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars will have a planet capable of sustaining advanced life. Considering that the observable universe contains less than a trillion galaxies, each averaging a hundred billion stars,j we can see the not even one planet would be expected, by natural processes alone, to possess the necessary conditions to sustain life.k No wonder Robert Rood and James Trefil,121 among others,140 have surmised that intelligent physical life exists only on the earth.

    It seems abundantly clear that the earth, too, in addition to the universe, has experienced divine design. Evidently, personal intervention on the part of the Creator takes place not just at the origin of the universe but also at much more recent times."

    And why do I want that particular cure? I know my flaws, and I know that being human is one of them, but there are ways to fix that without abandoning all pretense of logical thinking.

    Because it isn't just about us being better people. Spiritual death does exist, and if you don't accept Jesus as the one to atone for your sin, you will pay that price instead when the time comes. I don't like talking about that but it's part of what Jesus spoke about and why he came. There's a part of us that nothing can fill except God, an emptiness that only he can close. We're made that way.

    "God's been asking us to check our brains at the door ever since our tests became sophisticated enough to come back negative. I'm well aware that people used to both expect and see evidence of divinity in their lives; I've read accounts of missionaries in centuries past using what in those days passed as empirical tests to convert people. Nowadays, however, we're better at correcting for experimental error, and there are a lot of scientists with an emotional investment in proving God's existence. That none of them have is telling, and that most religious people now feel the need to protect their God from falsification is even more so."

    You're wrong about evidence, though. More and more, as people study cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, and the like, it reveals the extreme fine-tuning of the universe and the impossibility of its existence without a designer. All time, matter, space, and energy has a finite beginning. And for them to have that beginning, there must be a Beginner. Albert Einstein himself came to that conclusion, even if he didn't take the next step in admitting who that Beginner was. He at least admitted there had to be one. You really think you know better than him? Also, eyewitness testimony is considered legal evidence in a court of law, and eyewitness testimony is exactly what the gospels are. The earliest texts have been conclusively dated to within just a few decades of Jesus' death and resurrection, well within the lifetime of the apostles, confirming their authenticity.

    "I know how simple it is. That doesn't mean it doesn't turn your brain into a ball of contradictions and cognitive biases that Escher would have been proud to have painted. Pull just about any entry from this list and there's a good chance that the religious show signs of it when defending their faith."

    And yet you haven't mentioned a single one here. You made a claim but didn't make it up, so your argument fails.

    "I do not have faith that my body isn't going to suddenly act out; didn't you read what I said? I know that my body has a better chance of not acting out if I maintain its systems to a certain minimum standard, and I'm just hoping that none of them decide to stop working before I can trade up for an intelligently designed equivalent. I have no faith at all in a system that's prone to sudden failure and provides positive feedback for things that reduce its functionality, it's just that the only current alternative to maintaining that system is dying."

    You said it yourself, you know your body has a better chance of not acting out if you maintain it. That knowing is faith. That's what I've been trying to say. You're operating from a distorted definition of faith rather than what it actually is.

    "God tells Satan, "Look at this dude, he's really pious and always prays to me and gives me sacrifices and stuff. I think he's my favorite human."
    Satan says, "Mind if I destroy everything he's ever loved, ruining him financially, emotionally and physically?"
    Your just and ever-loving God responds, "Nah, go ahead. It's not like he'll stop worshiping me. Just don't kill him, okay?"
    There is something very wrong with that picture."

    What you've just shown is that you haven't learned how to look past the surface. Do you really think God didn't know what would happen? Of course he did. He allowed it because we're all tested and live in a fallen world, and suffering is an inevitable part of that. However, if you had read through the entire book, you would have found that after it was over, God blessed Job and gave back all that was lost, even more than Job had originally had. Also, you would have understood that the devil is, basically, on a leash. He can only do what God lets him do. The fact that you allowed yourself to be so easily discouraged makes me think that you never really committed yourself to God in the first place. You could have asked someone to help you understand the story if you were having a hard time with it, instead of just abandoning everything.

    "That's fine, it would be stupid if an omnipotent being was bound in such a way. Just don't go saying that a guy failing to hide in a house, in a boat, and in a whale is proof of that. He wouldn't be able to hide from me in any of those places either if I had one of those tags they use to track dolphins, and he wouldn't be able to hide from schizophrenia if he independently invented a generation ship and fled the Milky Way. Even if his account were honest it wouldn't be a very strong support for your conclusion."

    Except that it's hardly the only account of God's nature in the Bible. Throughout the whole thing, God is described as being beyond time, doing things before time, before the universe existed. He, as Jesus, appeared in a locked room after the resurrection, another example of his extradimensionality. And those are just a few examples.

    "That's good. I never thought of God any other way. But when you bring up Jonas and say that he couldn't escape God no matter how far he fled, there's an implication there that Jonas fled far. If he didn't, then that claim is like if I were to take five steps without leaving my dorm and conclude that my dorm encompasses the whole of reality."

    Jonah attempted to go as far as he could in the complete opposite direction of Ninevah. The only means of transportation in those days were by foot, riding an animal, or ship, and by ship would take you the farthest, which is what Jonah had attempted.

    Can you at least admit that you may not have come to the right conclusions, that it's possible? There's far more evidence of God as the Creator and Designer of the universe than you realize. Go here to learn more, and don't just dismiss it because then you'll be acting just like a copyright maximalist. Actually spend time reading the articles and listening to the podcasts and try to take everything in. You might be surprised.

    www.reasons.org

    Oh, and RTB's founder, Dr. Ross, was a scientist before he became a Christian, and of course still is one (with multiple PhD's, as I recall). So any claims of superimposing faith over science have no merit.

    The full text of the article I quoted above can be found here.

     

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  57.  
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    The Logician, Apr 6th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: ...it is only logical that God's world and God's word would speak the same message.

    Except for Genesis 1:25-27 versus Genesis 2:18-22.

    And Genesis 1:20 versus Genesis 2:19.


    I believe you're confused because you're looking too literally at the text. Both accounts are true, both happened simultaneously. God both spoke the animals to life and physically formed them as well. It's not all that hard to believe. There are two accounts of the creation in Genesis because the first is a detailed rendering while the second is a summary to give context and setting to the events of chapter 2 that follow.

    And Genesis 11 versus Genesis 10.

    What happened with Babel is that God saw how humans were growing wicked and arrogant and knew how much more so it would become if nothing was done. So he scattered them and broke up the language in order to slow down the damage that humanity was doing. As for the long lifespans listed in Genesis 11, it's actually not as far-fetched as you might think. I'll quote from an article by Drs. Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, and Richard Deem:

    "Recent advances in the biochemistry of aging provide answers to these seemingly intractable problems. Scientists have uncovered several distinct biochemical mechanisms that either cause, or are associated with, senescence (aging). Even subtle changes in cellular chemistry can be responsible for aging, and in some cases, can increase life expectancy by nearly 50%.1, 2 These discoveries point to a number of possible ways that God could have allowed long life spans and then altered human life expectancy––simply by “tweaking” human biochemistry. The recent progress of research in the biochemistry of aging, along with the cosmic radiation caused by the Vela supernova eruption, make the long life spans of Genesis 5 and the decrease of human life spans at the time of the Flood scientifically plausible.3,4

    Reactive Oxygen Species

    The free radical theory of aging is one of the leading explanations for senescence.5 Free radicals are chemical entities that possess one or more unshared electrons as part of their structural configurations. Because electrons find stability by forming pairs, the unshared electron(s) of free radicals makes them unstable, highly reactive, and chemically destructive compounds. When a molecule contains an unshared electron it becomes highly reactive because the unshared electron aggressively “seeks out” another electron with which to pair.

    Some free radicals produced inside the cell during the normal course of cellular metabolism are derived from molecular oxygen (O2) and are called reactive oxygen species (ROS). 6 Some examples are superoxide (·O2-), the hydroxy free radical (·OH), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Most ROS produced internally and occurring normally in the cell come from the mitochondria—organelles inside the cell that play a central role in harvesting energy.7

    According to the free radical theory of aging, the ROS produced in the cell during the natural course of metabolism act randomly and indiscriminately to damage important cell components. For example, in their search for other unshared electrons, ROS attack the molecules that make up the cell’s membrane (lipids), proteins, and DNA.8 Since this damage to cellular components is cumulative, ROS may contribute significantly to the aging process.9

    Cells do have mechanisms to counteract many of the harmful effects of ROS. For example, the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase hunt the free radicals superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, respectively.10 Cells also have additional antioxidants such as glutathione, peroxidase, and vitamins E and C.11 However, these protective systems are insufficient to prevent all the damage caused by ROS over a cell’s lifetime.

    A team of pharmacologists recently demonstrated that the aging effects caused by ROS can be largely subverted by augmenting the cell’s native antioxidant defenses by using enzyme mimetics.12 Enzyme mimetics (synthetic compounds that imitate the chemistry of enzymes) catalyze (bring about) the same chemical reactions as the enzymes for which they are named. In other words, enzyme mimetics imitate natural enzymes. For example, SOD/catalase enzyme mimetics catalyze the decomposition of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. The pharmacologists found that administering SOD/catalase enzyme mimetics to a study group of worms (Caenorhabditis elegans)13 can extend the worms’ average life span by 44% by providing additional defense against the damage that free radicals cause. Not only does the worm study help define the role of ROS in the aging process, it also indicates that human life span could be, and in fact, may be lengthened or shortened by this “pharmacological intervention.”14

    Researchers also have been able to extend the life span of fruit flies by about 40% through similar means. Instead of using enzyme mimetics, scientists manipulated the fruit flies’ genes, causing their mitochondria to produce more SOD and catalase. 15 The results were similar.

    Further evidence that altering SOD and catalase levels can influence life span comes from recent work by researchers at the University of Texas in Houston. These scientists have shown that by targeting SOD, they may be able to selectively kill cancer cells.16

    These new discoveries in ROS suggest that one way God could have designed humanity to live for 900 years and then acted to decrease man’s life expectancy at the time of the Flood would be to make subtle changes in the level of SOD and catalase enzyme expression within cells.
    Caloric Restriction

    Caloric restriction is one of the approaches that researchers have discovered for extending the life span of certain organisms.17 Selectively reducing food intake (calories) by 30 to 70% can extend life span by up to 40% for a wide range of creatures from yeast to mammals. For years, scientists have thought that caloric restriction extends life expectancy by causing a decrease in metabolic rate, which, in turn, leads to reduced production of ROS.18 Recent studies strongly suggest, however, that caloric restriction yields an increase in life span through a biochemical mechanism distinct from the free-radical mechanism.

    Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), using yeast as a study organism, recently put in place the final piece of the puzzle to explain that biochemical mechanism. 19, 20 Within chromosomes are genes that code for rRNA. These genes have unique features that, due to normal cellular activity, may cause them to become excised from the chromosome. These excised genes then form individual circular pieces of DNA (called extrachromosomal DNA circles, or ECs) which self-replicate, accumulate, and compete with the yeast’s genome for vital enzymes and other cellular materials. For this reason, ECs are toxic to cells and decrease longevity in yeast.21

    The MIT researchers have found that the enzyme Sir2 plays a significant role in reducing the accumulation of ECs, thereby extending the life span of yeast. (Sir2 has been found throughout the biological realm, including in humans.22) It is activated when the energy status of a cell drops off—which would occur under conditions of caloric restriction. 23 When activated, Sir2 causes the chromosomes to become highly condensed and the genes within the chromosomes to be silenced. 24, 25 Because the chromosomes’ genes are silenced, the production of ECs diminishes, resulting in an extension of yeast life span. The results for yeast carry broad implications for the human aging process, since Sir2 has been discovered in humans.

    The relationship between gene silencing and aging can be understood through a simple analogy. A car driven normally for thirty years will show signs of significant wear and tear, if it is still functioning. A similar car, however, that is driven only to church on Sundays will remain in mint condition even after thirty years. Likewise, a strand of DNA experiencing normal wear and tear can produce toxic ECs, decreasing life span. The enzyme Sir2, however, silences the genes within a chromosome, limits wear and tear on the DNA, and prevents ECs from forming, thereby extending the life span of yeast.

    The work on ROS and caloric restriction correlates with Genesis 1:29-30, where God prescribes a vegetarian diet for pre-Flood humans. A vegetarian diet not only ensures the consumption of high levels of antioxidants, but also prevents the intake of toxins that accumulate in animal flesh. A vegetarian diet also aids with caloric restriction because the consumption of vegetables yields far fewer calories than does the consumption of the equivalent weight of meat. Through a vegetarian diet, God could have used caloric restriction to help extend pre-Flood life spans.

    Another way God could have altered human life spans is through a gene mutation that mimics caloric restriction. Recent work by investigators from the University of Connecticut identified a mutation in fruit flies that disables a gene involved in metabolism.26, 27 The loss of this gene’s activity makes metabolism less efficient. Inefficiency in metabolism means that the organism can’t extract energy from food very effectively. This limits the energy available and, similar to caloric restriction, leads to longer life spans. Fruit fly life spans doubled as a result of this mutation.

    The fruit fly work demonstrates how God could have helped control mankind’s life expectancy by altering the activity of a single gene. Whether He used this method or not, it does represent a simple, viable option. Interestingly, as highlighted by other work on fruit flies, many organisms seem to be genetically programmed to hasten mortality. Recently, scientists have discovered another single gene mutation that leads to long life spans. Though this gene, called the Methuselah gene, has been shown to extend life spans in fruit flies when mutated, the function of this gene, when not mutated, remains unknown. 28, 29
    Telomere Loss

    Altering telomerase activity is another way God could have acted to regulate human longevity. Telomerase is an enzyme complex that maintains the length of telomeres—the terminal ends of DNA strands in chromosomes.30 Telomeres maintain chromosome stability. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes; one member of each chromosome pair comes from the mother, and the other from the father. Prior to cell division, each chromosome duplicates, and, after cell division, the parent and daughter chromosomes separate from one another.

    During DNA replication, telomerase functions to maintain telomere length. Without sufficient telomerase activity, telomeres become successively shorter with each round of cell division. If telomeres disappear, chromosomes lose stability and the cell’s ability to replicate is compromised. Thus, loss of telomerase activity and the disappearance of telomeric DNA is associated with aging.31

    Telomere length serves as an indicator of health. Thus, scientists use telomere length to assess the health of cloned animals.32 Researchers have been able to extend life spans by introducing telomerase into cultured human cells that lack telomerase activity.33 Cancer cells, considered to be essentially immortal, possess elevated telomerase activity levels.34 Recent research suggests that the relationship between telomere length and cell longevity is even more complex than previously thought.35, 36 (For example, in an environment where elevated radiation significantly increases cancer cell production, higher telomerase activity may actually shorten, rather than lengthen, life spans.) God could have changed human life expectancy simply by varying telomerase activity. Alternatively, God may have complemented an increase in radiation levels (see discussion of the Vela supernova event, page XX) with a reduction in telomerase activity so as to minimize human suffering from cancers in the context of shortened life expectancy.
    Genome Size

    Investigators from Glasgow University in the United Kingdom have recently uncovered a significant relationship between genome size and longevity.37 The term genome refers to the entire DNA makeup of an organism. Genomes consist of genes—which encode the information needed for the cell to make proteins and structural RNA molecules—and of noncoding DNA.

    The Glasgow team surveyed 67 bird species and found that larger genome sizes correlate with longer life spans. Birds are ideal models to characterize the effect of genome size on life expectancy because of the substantial data for bird genome size and longevity. Though no clear explanation yet exists for why larger genomes lead to longer lifetimes, the scientists who carried out this study have speculated that larger genomes may slow down the cell cycle (the time between cell divisions). Before a cell cycle can be completed— culminating in cell division—the cell’s DNA must be replicated to produce duplicate copies of the genome. The larger the genome, the longer it takes for DNA replication to occur. This longer replication process results in a longer cell cycle and ultimately leads to longer life spans.

    The correlation between genome size and longevity is intriguing in light of the Human Genome Project (HGP). Humans have a large genome—three billion base pairs (genetic letters). However, initial estimates from the HGP indicate that the human genome possesses only 28,000 to 120,000 genes.38 This means that noncoding DNA makes up roughly 97% of the human genome. This prompts speculation, with Genesis 5 and 6 in mind, that quite possibly the large size of the human genome—comprised of a large amount of noncoding DNA—may reflect God’s original purpose for man. God might have designed the large human genome to allow life spans of 900 years. According to this suggestion, the noncoding DNA may have performed a critical function at one time. Perhaps God left the human genome intact at the time of the Flood as He acted through astronomical events and other biochemical changes to limit man’s life expectancy. Then the human genome, as observed today, would be a carryover—and a possible testimony to—the time when God purposed for people to live longer.

    Alternatively, the human genome may have been even larger before the Flood. Given their relatively large body size and high level of activity, humans live considerably longer than members of other species. This combination of size and activity level may in itself explain humans’ large genome size, but the pre-Flood life spans may have required an even larger genome.
    Vela Supernova

    A major astronomical event provides a partial explanation for how God may have acted to reduce the long pre-Flood human life spans. Cosmic radiation is one of the main factors that limits human life expectancy. The cosmic radiation coming down to Earth has not been uniform through time, and in fact, most of the deadliest cosmic radiation Earth experiences comes from a fairly recent and nearby (1,300 light years away) event, the Vela supernova. (A supernova is a rare celestial phenomenon, the explosion of most of the material in a star.) About 20,000 to 30,000 years ago (roughly the time of the Genesis flood), the Vela supernova erupted.39, 40

    Prior to the Vela supernova, only a fraction of the current level of deadly cosmic radiation bathed the Earth. Under these lower radiation conditions (coupled with complementary biochemical adjustments) life spans of up to 900 years might have been possible. Scientists do acknowledge that this higher-level radiation silently bombarding the Earth since Vela plays a significant role in limiting life expectancy. Moreover, a significant radiation event such as Vela would explain the mathematical curve—the gradual, exponential reduction in life spans from about 900 to 120 years—reported in Genesis 11.
    Assessing Scientific Plausibility

    Advances in the biology and biochemistry of aging have been remarkable, and, at the same time, they reveal that the aging process is, indeed, complex. Much remains to be learned and discovered about it. Recent discoveries do clearly indicate that aging can result from subtlety changes in the invisible realm of cosmic radiation and cellular chemistry. Given the subtly of these changes, investigators are gaining some hope and confidence that in the near future they will be able to slow the human aging process through drug treatment and dietary alteration.

    Scientists’ success in altering the life span of selected organisms (such as worms, yeast, and fruit flies) and their emerging ability to increase human life expectancy through biochemical manipulation lend scientific plausibility to the long life spans recorded in Genesis 5. If humans with their limited knowledge and power can alter life spans, how much more so can God? He could have used any of four (or more) subtle alterations in human biochemistry to allow for long life spans. He could have used the Vela supernova or other astronomical events, in combination with complementary biochemical changes, to shorten human longevity.

    Exactly how God altered human life spans no one knows. However, recent discoveries in the biochemistry of aging continue to build the case for the reliability of Scripture—specifically of Genesis 5 and 6. Researchers stand on the threshold of additional breakthroughs in understanding the aging process. Further advances are anticipated in the endocrinology and hormonal control of aging, and in deciphering Werner’s syndrome (a disorder that leads to premature aging).41-44 One can look forward to these and other discoveries in the biochemistry of aging with the confidence that they will continue to lend credibility to the biblical record.

    References:

    Simon Melov et al., “Extension of Life Span with Superoxide Dismutase/Catalase Mimetics,” Science 289 (2000), 1567-69.
    Judith Campisi, “Aging, Chromatin, and Food Restriction—Connecting the Dots,” Science 289 (2000), 2062-63.
    “Science Switched Sides: Part 1,” Facts for Faith 1 (Q1 2000), 29.
    Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998), 119-21.
    Toren Finkel and Nikki J. Holbrook, “Oxidants, Oxidative Stress and the Biology of Aging,” Nature 408 (2000), 239-47.
    Sandeep Raha and Brian H. Robinson, “Mitochondria, Oxygen Free-Radicals, Disease and Ageing,” Trends in Biochemistry 25 (2000): 502-08.
    Raha and Robinson, 502-08.
    Robert Arking, The Biology of Aging, 2d ed. (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 1998), 398-414.
    Finkel and Holbrook, 239-47.
    Lubert Stryer, Biochemistry, 3d ed. (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1988), 422.
    Arking, 401-03.
    Melov et al., 1567-69.
    Oddly enough, the model systems used to study aging, yeast, nematodes, and fruit flies accurately reflect the mechanisms leading to senescence in humans. This stems from the fundamental unity of biochemistry among eukaryotic organisms (single and multicellular organisms comprised of complex cells—cells possessing a nucleus and internal membrane structures).
    Melov et al., 1567-69.
    Raha and Robinson, 502-08.
    Peng Huang et al., “Superoxide Dismutase as a Target for the Selective Killing of Cancer Cells,” Science 407 (2000), 390-95.
    Arking, 313-27.
    Leonard Guarente and Cynthia Kenyon, “Genetic Pathways that Regulate Ageing in Model Organisms,” Nature 408 (2000), 255-62.
    Su-Ju Lin et al., “Requirement of NAD and SIR2 for Life Span Extension by Calorie Restriction in Saccharomyces cerevisiae,” Science 289 (2000), 2126-28.
    Campisi, 2062-63.
    David A. Sinclair and Leonard Guarente, “Extrachromosomal rDNA Circles—A Cause of Aging in Yeast,” Cell 91 (1997), 1033-42.
    Jeffrey S. Smith et al., “A Phylogenetically Conserved NAD+-Dependent Protein Deacetylase Activity in the Sir2 Protein Family,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 97 (2000): 6658-63.
    Su-Ju Lin et al., 2126-28.
    Shin-ichiro Imai et al., “Transcriptional Silencing and Longevity Protein SIR2 is an NAD-Dependent Histone Deacetylase,” Nature 403 (2000), 795-800.
    Joseph Landry et al., “The Silencing Protein Sir2 and Its Homologs are NAD-Dependent Protein Deacetylases,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 97 (2000): 5807-11.
    Elizabeth Pennisi, “Old Flies May Hold Secrets of Aging,” Science 290 (2000), 2048.
    Blanka Rogina et al., “Extended Life Span Conferred by Contransporter Gene Mutations in Drosophila,” Science 290 (2000), 2137-40.
    Elizabeth Pennisi, “Single Gene Controls Fruit Fly Life Span,” Science 282 (1998), 856.
    Yi-Jyun Lin et al., “Extended Life Span and Stress Resistance in Drosophila Mutant methuselah,” Science 282 (1998), 943-46.
    Alan G. Atherly, Jack R. Girton and John F. McDonald, The Science of Genetics (Fort Worth: Saunders College, 1999), 302-03.
    Arking, 460-64.
    For example see: Teruhiko Wakayama et al., “Cloning of Mice to Six Generations,” Nature 407 (2000), 318-19.
    Andrea G. Bodnar et al., “Extension of Life-Span by Production of Telomerase into Normal Human Cells,” Science 279 (1998), 349-52.
    Douglas Hanahan, “Benefits of Bad Telomeres,” Nature 406 (2000), 573-74.
    Steven E. Artandi et al., “Telomere Dysfunction Promotes Non-Reciprocal Translocations and Epithelial Concerns in Mice,” Nature 406 (2000), 641-45.
    Elizabeth H. Blackburn, “Telomere States and Cell Fates,” Nature 408 (2000), 53-56.
    Pat Monaghan and Neil B. Metcalfe, “Genome Size and Longevity,” Trends in Genetics 16 (2000), 331-32.
    Elizabeth Pennisi, “And the Gene Number Is …?” Science 288 (2000), 1146-47.
    B. Aschenback et al., “Discovery of Explosion Fragments Outside the Vela Supernova Remnant Shock-Wave Boundary,” Nature 373 (1995), 588.
    A. G. Lyne et al., “Very Low Braking Index for the Vela Pulsar,” Nature 381 (1996), 497-589.
    Koutarou D. Kimura et al., “ daf-2, an Insulin Receptor-Like Gene that Regulates Longevity and Diapause in Caenorhabditis elegans,” Science 277 (1997), 942-45.
    Kui Lin et al., “daf-16: an HNF-3/forkhead Family Member That Can Function to Double the Life-Span of Caenorhabditis elegans,” Science 278 (1997), 1319-22.
    Catherine A. Wolkow et al., “Regulation of C. elegans Life-Span by Insulinlike Signaling in the Nervous System,” Science 290 (2000), 147-50.
    Junko Oshima, “The Werner Syndrome Protein: An Update,” Bioessays 22 (2000): 894-901."

    Most biblical "contradictions," Lawrence, are in reality anything but. They tend to be seen as so only because people misunderstand how God works, misunderstand Scripture, are unfamiliar with the culture in which the text was written or the setting and timing of it, among other things. Take the time to look more deeply and you'll find that the Bible is far more consistent than you realize.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    TDR, Apr 6th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: ...it is only logical that God's world and God's word would speak the same message.

    Sorry again if this is a multiple post. Trying to trim it down.

    Except for Genesis 1:25-27 versus Genesis 2:18-22.

    And Genesis 1:20 versus Genesis 2:19.


    I believe you're confused because you're looking too literally at the text. Both accounts are true, both happened simultaneously. God both spoke the animals to life and physically formed them as well. It's not all that hard to believe. There are two accounts of the creation in Genesis because the first is a detailed rendering while the second is a summary to give context and setting to the events of chapter 2 that follow.

    And Genesis 11 versus Genesis 10.

    What happened with Babel is that God saw how humans were growing wicked and arrogant and knew how much more so it would become if nothing was done. So he scattered them and broke up the language in order to slow down the damage that humanity was doing.

    As for the long lifespans listed in Genesis 11, it's actually not as far-fetched as you might think. I'll quote from an article by Drs. Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, and Richard Deem:

    "Recent advances in the biochemistry of aging provide answers to these seemingly intractable problems. Scientists have uncovered several distinct biochemical mechanisms that either cause, or are associated with, senescence (aging). Even subtle changes in cellular chemistry can be responsible for aging, and in some cases, can increase life expectancy by nearly 50%.1, 2 These discoveries point to a number of possible ways that God could have allowed long life spans and then altered human life expectancy––simply by “tweaking” human biochemistry. The recent progress of research in the biochemistry of aging, along with the cosmic radiation caused by the Vela supernova eruption, make the long life spans of Genesis 5 and the decrease of human life spans at the time of the Flood scientifically plausible.3,4"

    The full text of the article can be found here.

    Most biblical "contradictions," Lawrence, are in reality anything but. They tend to be seen as so only because people misunderstand how God works, misunderstand Scripture, are unfamiliar with the culture in which the text was written or the setting and timing of it, among other things. Take the time to look more deeply and you'll find that the Bible is far more consistent than you realize.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Apr 6th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

    Re:

    Wow, really? All of that? It's fortunate that God loved us enough to set all that up, or we wouldn't exist. Clearly this is evidence of a super-God that cared enough about us that he created a God that cared enough about us to create a fine-tuned universe.

    Eventually you have to get to a point where you just say "wow, that worked out well", or you get stuck in a cycle of intentionality that doesn't end even when the creators outnumber the stars. That point, for you, is God. That point, for me, is currently math. If there's ever any non-circumstantial evidence that math arose from something else I'll change my mind then.

    The number of stars present in our universe or the particular characteristics of Earth are irrelevant. With physics in place, a universe this large and full eventually arising becomes more or less inevitable. And if a system like ours doesn't show up that first time, then the one after that might have it. Given infinite time all possible things will happen. Pointing out that life exists under conditions that we know life can exist in is not a useful or profound statement. Besides, a number of the things your article claims had to be present for life to occur are not absolute characteristics of Earth. In particular, atmospheric composition has varied greatly historically, and runaway greenhouse and freezing effects have occurred without spelling the end of all life. And, while I don't know the precise tolerances of all the things listed, that it considers Earth's presence in the habitable zone as evidence of precise balance shows that it's not looking too closely at how much variance could be tolerated before things stopped working; the zone that Earth could've formed in to allow it to support life is actually fairly wide.

    "Because it isn't just about us being better people. Spiritual death does exist, and if you don't accept Jesus as the one to atone for your sin, you will pay that price instead when the time comes. I don't like talking about that but it's part of what Jesus spoke about and why he came. There's a part of us that nothing can fill except God, an emptiness that only he can close. We're made that way."

    False. A lifetime of people telling you that you're a sinner and a pathetic being and that Jesus is the only way to fix that has drilled that God-shaped hole into your heart.

    "All time, matter, space, and energy has a finite beginning. And for them to have that beginning, there must be a Beginner."

    The same was once said of planets, species, and rain. And, as it turns out, all those things do have beginners. They just aren't capable of thought.

    "Albert Einstein himself came to that conclusion, even if he didn't take the next step in admitting who that Beginner was. He at least admitted there had to be one. You really think you know better than him?"

    Yes. Science isn't a religion, and Einstein wasn't a prophet. He was a very, very smart man, and relativity turned out to be very, very correct, but he wasn't infallible, and he would let his basic preconceptions interfere with his beliefs. He also thought that the universe was eternal and unchanging; he even tried to tune his theorem so that it would predict a static universe. How can you claim that there was a Big Bang or cosmic expansion when Einstein said otherwise? Do you really think you know better than him? The answer is yes, you do.

    "Also, eyewitness testimony is considered legal evidence in a court of law, and eyewitness testimony is exactly what the gospels are. The earliest texts have been conclusively dated to within just a few decades of Jesus' death and resurrection, well within the lifetime of the apostles, confirming their authenticity."

    There was eyewitness testimony of witchcraft in Salem dated much more closely to the event than a few decades. Currently more alien encounters happen than divine encounters (barring stupid ones like the char marks on your toast looking like Jesus), but that's not proof of an alien presence near Earth. I'll worry about this if atheism is ever tried in court.

    "And yet you haven't mentioned a single one here. You made a claim but didn't make it up, so your argument fails."

    I was just trying to clarify what I meant by "pretzel", but okay. This is the one you seem to be most affected by, along with this and its offspring. All of these also commonly characterize religions, though you seem to at least be trying to minimize them. I freely admit that I catch myself falling prey to those at times, too, particularly the last one, but most of my beliefs aren't built upon them anymore.

    "You said it yourself, you know your body has a better chance of not acting out if you maintain it. That knowing is faith. That's what I've been trying to say. You're operating from a distorted definition of faith rather than what it actually is."

    We already have a word for evidence-based knowledge. That word is "knowledge". "Faith" comes with a lot more troublesome attachments. I have never seen someone say, right out of the gate, that they have faith that gravity won't suddenly reverse unless they were trying to legitimize their belief in a religion. I have, however, seen plenty of claims along the lines of "faith doesn't require evidence". If your faith does require evidence, you're the exception, not the rule. And even then, you might as well just call it knowledge.

    "What you've just shown is that you haven't learned how to look past the surface. Do you really think God didn't know what would happen? Of course he did."

    Thus rendering the test and associated suffering completely unnecessary.

    "He allowed it because we're all tested and live in a fallen world, and suffering is an inevitable part of that. However, if you had read through the entire book, you would have found that after it was over, God blessed Job and gave back all that was lost, even more than Job had originally had."

    Your honor, I did kill that man's family, but if you think about it it isn't that bad. After all, his ancestors were sinful, and suffering is a part of life, so really what I did was perfectly reasonable. Besides, I contacted an adoption agency beforehand and got him some more kids. He's just being ungrateful.

    "Also, you would have understood that the devil is, basically, on a leash. He can only do what God lets him do."

    No, I understood that. The question at that point was why loosen the leash to that degree? What was gained?

    "The fact that you allowed yourself to be so easily discouraged makes me think that you never really committed yourself to God in the first place. You could have asked someone to help you understand the story if you were having a hard time with it, instead of just abandoning everything."

    I did ask about it. The answer I got was "the devil did that, not God, so it's okay", which wasn't a good answer for me considering the previous point. You're right, though, reading that was the last step of my deconversion, not the beginning. At the time I was a deistic agnostic, the result of a long struggle to believe in God despite everything else I had ever learned. Job was the killing blow, but the process leading up to it was not as easy as "hey, I think I'll abandon everything my parents ever taught me to believe in! That sounds fun!"

    "Except that it's hardly the only account of God's nature in the Bible. Throughout the whole thing, God is described as being beyond time, doing things before time, before the universe existed. He, as Jesus, appeared in a locked room after the resurrection, another example of his extradimensionality. And those are just a few examples."

    Then use those next time. Jonah's story is weak.

    "Can you at least admit that you may not have come to the right conclusions, that it's possible?"

    Of course. I've done it before, after all, with a number of different subjects.

    "Go here to learn more, and don't just dismiss it because then you'll be acting just like a copyright maximalist. Actually spend time reading the articles and listening to the podcasts and try to take everything in. You might be surprised."

    The first article I read showed that species that have adapted to life with predators tend to overpopulate when the predator is removed, and used that as proof that God put predators on the Earth to regulate their populations. I'll keep reading, some of its biblical analysis is interesting, but if that's the quality of evidence I can expect there, I doubt it'll change anything about my beliefs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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