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Messages - Leebot

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First, we could say that we know the Pocket Dimension theory to be sound because no matter if you defeat the Black Omen in 12000 B.C, 600 A.D., or 1000 A.D., or challenge Lavos in 1999 A.D., you fight the same Lavos with the same stats. He is not any stronger for allegedly being in the ground longer.

Actually, that part is pretty irrelevent. Look at the numbers involved: 65 million years (-12,000) in the ground before the first chance to fight him, 13,999 years before the last chance. That last 13,999 years is about 0.02% of his life, or one part in 5000. Aside from his hit point total (which might differ by a few points if it were worth bothering), his stats would be essentially unchanged by that small amount of growth. So, we can't really judge anything by the fact that he seems no different as he really should be no different either way.

General Discussion / Re: Virginia Tech Massacre
« on: April 21, 2007, 02:59:07 am »
Let's see... pay through the nose or a few hundred extra deaths? The cost is worth it, especially when you consider that if you're using it for defense, you'd never expect to use more than a handful of shots ever. Now, I'd of course make an exception to the gun laws for hunters and farmers who might need to shoot pests, but they could only use guns appropriate for the task.

General Discussion / Re: Virginia Tech Massacre
« on: April 21, 2007, 01:08:29 am »
Fair enough. But something just came to me. Didn't Cho get counseling for strange behaviour (stalking, voyeur photoes etc.), and didn't his teacher call the authority on his writings? I'm sure this is enough to not sell someone a gun.

He was actually involuntarily committed at one point, and judged by professionals. They indeed saw that there were problems with him and declared him a danger to himself and/or others. They decided that the best course of action was to treat him on an out-patient basis. This basically means that he wasn't confined to an asylum or hospital and could mostly go on with his life as normal, but had to see a psychologist/iatrist regularly.

And here's the problem: The law in Virginia prevents you from purchasing a gun if you've been committed and held - but not if you've been committed and released on an out-patient basis; even if you were declared a danger to yourself and/or others. You can see right here the problem with the law, and I highly suspect that this will change as a result.

EDIT: By the way, do we really need guns? What about tasers and other weapons that don't kill?

I've been pushing for that idea for a while; my particular favorite is guns that shoot tranquilizer darts. They fulfill the need for self-protection without posing a lethal threat. They don't fit the need for rebellion, but given the arms gap between the populace and the government anyway, it's not that big a difference.

General Discussion / Re: Virginia Tech Massacre
« on: April 19, 2007, 03:30:42 am »
(Unless anybody else wants to tackle it...)

This is where the scientist in me comes out and points out that's it's absolutely impossible to determine what causes the lower level of gun violence in some countries over others, because there's no way to run a controlled experiment, or even just compare countries that differ in only one manner. The best we can do is hypothesize, then try to test it by changing our own country in the manner we think makes sense.

As for Japan, I was the one who brought it up earlier, and I'd like to make an extension: Look at the rate of violent crime in Japan that utilizes bladed weapons. It's a fair bit higher than most other countries, and the reason for this is likely the tight gun control. Gun control didn't stop violence; it just changed it's form. Hell, Japan still has it's own active mobs that put the US to shame, so it's hardly a case of their culture leading them away from violent crime. However, this change of form alone can be seen as a victory, as it's a lot harder to commit a mass killing with a knife, and they see a lot fewer of them in Japan.

General Discussion / Re: Virginia Tech Massacre
« on: April 17, 2007, 03:15:26 pm »
While some of you might not be able to understand how people there feel, I most certainly can. Some of you may recall the Platte Canyon hostage situation last September?

If not, allow this to refresh your memory:

That was my old high school and my sister's class, though thankfully she was home sick. My ex-girlfriend(but still good friend) was actually there, though, and the girl that was shot and killed? She was my sister's best friend.

I first heard about the events from customers in the drive-through--I was working at Wendy's at the time--and I had no idea who was there or what was going on. When I found out it was at my old high school, I was freaked out of my mind. My two sisters go to that high school and while I knew my sister Samantha was home sick I had no idea where Rachael was, what classrooom it was in, and so on and so forth. It was extremely scary, sad, and horrible.

You know what one of the worst parts about it was? The place where the hostage taker was camping near the school? That was a favorite river side spot for my girlfriend and me just the month before...had we not broken up and kept going, we might have run into the guy ourselves.

So, I can definitely understand how the parents and families of those murdered at Virginia's not pleasant, to severely understate the situation.

Damn, that really sucks. I'd like to say I can sympathize, but the closest I can come is when Bush visited my old high school when my sister was there (I know I know, bad time for humor).

There's something more to this...the events make the Columbine massacre pale in what was his motive? I refuse to believe it is nothing more than simple mental issues or issues with specific people...there's more to it than that. Much more. What, I can't say, but something about it just feels as if there is a deeper reason lying in wait here.

I think you underestimate the strength of mental issues. This one, I do know personally. Rage can build up underneath, and there's no way to release it. Logic gets short-circuited to simply thinking "If I'm in pain, then it's fair that everyone else be in pain, too." At a certain point, reality warps, and people are no longer seen as human. This is what happens in the vast majority of these school shootings; after this warp, the extent is just a matter of how long before the kid gets caught. A greater number of deaths just means it took them longer to catch him, not that there's necessarily anything more to this.

And no, you don't have to worry about me. I can understand all those mental processes because I've come close to it in the past. However, another peculiar quirk of my mind (I call it "empathy," wish more people had it) blocked this off from actually happening. Since then I've managed to tame this beast, and I keep it securely chained up. Unfortunately many people never do this, because they never realize they need to.

General Discussion / Re: Virginia Tech Massacre
« on: April 17, 2007, 02:40:39 am »
I have to agree with Lord J here on the subject of gun control, and I'd like to point out something: Japan. Guns are completely illegal for civilians there, and even the black market has trouble getting them. There are still violent crimes, but they use bladed weapons for the most part. However, these violent crimes come with the drawbacks of bladed weapons, and there's rarely a massive slaughter carried out by a single individual (anime heroes excepted). The point here is that it is indeed possible to ban guns and benefit from it. It won't be easy, but it is possible.

There's just a couple problems. We have to remember why the Second Amendment is there in the first place. The primary reason at the time was that the government wasn't powerful enough to create a standing army to protect the nation, so they needed civilian militias to fill in the gap. Hence why the amendment states that the freedom to "bear arms and form militias shall not be infringed." Over time, that became no longer the case, and the government's army became more than sufficient.

So, why wasn't it taken off the books? We can't say for sure of course, but there are many who believe that some of the founding fathers (particularly Jefferson) believed that a time might come when the US government got too corrupt, and another revolution was needed. For that, the citizens needed a half-decent chance to be able to arm themselves against the government, hence why the amendment remained.

With the collosal power-grabs of the Bush administration in recent years, we're closer to this point than ever before, but we're not at it, and I doubt we'll get there this time around. The people realized what was going on in time, and voted a Democratic congress in, which would prevent any further power grabs. This does serve as a wake-up call though, that we have to be vigilant. We have to keep an eye on the government to make sure they don't try to take over. And when they do, it's our job to vote them out. If we're too late on that, then that's when we'll be thankful we have the Second Amendment.

General Discussion / Re: The Imus Nonsense
« on: April 15, 2007, 04:57:13 pm »
I just have to take a step aside and point out that one of the things I love about this forum is how comment threads can quickly drift into subjects nowhere near related to the initial post, and the moderators encourage it. Too many other boards I've been too subscribe to the philosophy of "One thread, one subject." Some even extend it to each subject being limited to one thread. It gets really stifling after a while.

General Discussion / Re: The Imus Nonsense
« on: April 15, 2007, 02:36:30 am »
Of course, I doubt you ever will simplify your tax laws. The problem is that the very people they're so complicated to benefit (The people rich enough to pay people to find all the loopholes to get out of paying taxes) are the same people rich enough to win elections. Sure, they'll promise to simplify it, but once they're in office, why should they?

General Discussion / Re: The Imus Nonsense
« on: April 12, 2007, 07:00:41 pm »
But for those of us in the reality-based community...

Actually, my excuse is that I'm not an American citizen, so instead of worrying about who to vote for, I'm free to criticize all the candidates. But back to the subject at hand, the problem I have isn't so much that he's trying to get votes from the ultra-religious, but that he's trying to get their votes by promoting his own religious nature.

This gets down to what I'd do in his place if I wanted to get their votes. There are a few tactics I could use (my favorite would actually be one that's so radically different from how politicians normally act I won't bother bringing it up as a serious suggestion), but the one most appropriate to this system would be a two-pronged strategy:

1. Emphasize how what I plan to do once elected coincides with what they want to happen. Left-Wing evangelicals have a lot on their minds that they want to change, and a lot of it is pretty good (fixing corruption, helping the poor, etc.). Tell them that while I might not share their beliefs, I'd still accomplish what they want (with the exception of instilling a religious state). Along with this, point out that even if they don't come from the same source, I share their moral values.

2. Make it clear that I'd protect their freedom to practice their religion. Bring up the very strawmen some ultra-religious are worried about (banning prayer in school, for instance), and point out how I don't agree with them. Make it clear that I want a country where everyone is free to practice whatever religion they choose without fear of persecution (though if talking specifically to one group, limit it to saying "you're free to practice your religion without persecution).

There are a lot of other sub-strategies I'd use, but that's the bulk of the applicable stuff.

General Discussion / Re: The Imus Nonsense
« on: April 12, 2007, 05:56:19 pm »
I was upset by that too when it first came out. But later I learned that his remarks were taken out of context. Compare this biased Associated Press hit piece on Obama's remarks with his full speech in its rightful context. Obama was speaking to an audience of religious left-wingers, and, bearing that in mind, if you take the time to read his entire speech, it is actually pretty well done.

My activism against religion in our society and in our government is tireless. But at the same time I recognize that we cannot allow our politics to simply ignore the overwhelming majority of Americans who consider themselves "faith-based."

Obama is welcome to try and court left-wing evangelicals. I think he can give them something to root for without giving the rest of his natural supporters a case of the heebie jeebies.

Such is the problem I see with rule by the masses: The masses can be wrong. This is one of the big reasons we want a representative government (in theory, at least), so we can handpick the people who are best qualified to understand the issues and make the right decisions. In a perfect republic, the best and the brightest are chosen to be put in charge.

Of course, things don't work this way in America, so politicians have to pander to the masses to get elected. A campaign of "I'll do what you want," tends to beat out a campaign of "I'll do what's right." So, I can understand it if a politician tries to pander to the religious masses once in a while to get elected - if I trust him to actually make the right decisions. The problem is, Obama's words made it clear to me that when it comes to religion, he isn't going to make the right decisions (frankly, the decision to be religious was a blow against him from the start, it speaks of poor critical-thinking skills to me).

Look at what he said about the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance for an example of where I'd expect him to make the wrong decision:

Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation -- context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase "under God." I certainly didn't.

Quite simply, he's wrong there. Those two words were specifically put into the pledge under the reign of Eisenhower specifically so that schoolchildren the country over would pay heed to God. That's a definite infringement of separation if I ever heard of one. It shouldn't have been put in in the first place, and it should be taken out as soon as possible. If Obama's elected President, we can be sure he'll come down on the wrong side of this issue.

General Discussion / Re: The Imus Nonsense
« on: April 12, 2007, 03:24:15 pm »
For the most part, my views coincide with Lord J's (what's new?), so I won't bother repeating it all. There is one thing I'd like to mention, though: I have one serious problem with Obama. The problem is that he seems to have fallen for the religious right's claims that the ultra-liberals are suppressing religion. I say this because he made a statement a while back that politicians shouldn't be banned from public expressions of religion.

Newsflash for you: They aren't. They just have to keep their personal religious beliefs separate from the office. Either he somehow hasn't realized this, or he's fallen in with those who want to put religion back in government.

General Discussion / Re: A Reminder
« on: April 11, 2007, 01:52:15 am »
1. When it comes to religion/spirituality, what do you believe, if anything?

As with all things, I'm a skeptic. I apply the skeptic's razor to all manner of the paranormal, which ranges from a pseudoscientist presenting poor arguments for the efficacy of some treatment to organized religion. In the end, I rely on the Scientific Method (ask the universe a question by performing an experiment, then replicate, replicate, replicate), not because I have any form of faith in it, but because it works. (I made a post on my blog a while back which covers this in more detail.)

So with this in mind, I believe in anything that has sufficient evidence to support it, doubt anything that has evidence against it, and have measured skepticism for anything that hasn't been adequately tested. As for what qualifies as "sufficient evidence," I go by Carl Sagan's rule: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Religious claims, being some of the most extraordinary, would require some of the most extraordinary evidence for me to believe in them.

What evidence do they have? Generally, there's some old book, which often seems to contradict itself in many places. Maybe there are a few "faith-healings," which end up being either unverifiable or easily explained by the placebo effect or confirmation bias. Sometimes there are stories of answered prayers, when the holy book notably says not to expect prayers to be answered. This is the degree of evidence I usually see for religions which claim to solve the ultimate questions of the universe. In short, it's like they're trying to prove the existence of a mountain by showing a picture of a grain of sand (which on closer inspection appears to have been doctored).

So what then do I believe in, with regards to religion? Nothing, and I go so far as to doubt all religions due to their inconsistencies with the universe I know. Having no religion, I'm by definition an atheist.

2. How did you come to believe it?

My parents were Christians of different denominations, and so they raised me and my sister as generic Christians. We attended churches of different denominations, but they never committed us to one (as in baptising us). I even attended a Catholic school for a period. I can't pinpoint when I gave up Christianity, but I believe my time in this school weighed in on this. Essentially, there were a couple problems that arose at that school:

1. I asked questions that they didn't like to have asked. "How do you know?" was a particularly common one.

2. When I played by their rules and tried to find out things about the universe through introspection, what I came up with never meshed with the dogma. This revealed one of the big problems with this manner of learning about the universe: Different people always come to different conclusions.

In the end, it feels like I simply grew out of religion, much like I grew out of believing in Santa Claus (I figured that one out on my own); it just took a few more years.

3. Do your parents (or did they when alive) believe the same?

My mother's faith has weakened throughout my life, and she's gone from an average Protestant to a Deist. She's very sensitive about talking about religion, though, so I can never really bring up the subject with her.

My father, on the other hand, is best described as a "heretical Catholic." He attended a Catholic high school, and actually ended up not passing because he got into a big disagreement with one of the teachers about the meaning of "Catholicism." Essentially, where his beliefs differ is in the church's presumption that only the believers will be saved. On the other hand, my father felt that the religion was supposed to be "For all," as was the original meaning of "Catholicism."

General Discussion / Re: AHHH Dammit All!!!
« on: March 25, 2007, 03:18:08 pm »
I'll speak up from my own experiences with bullying. In general, I've found that bullies are (cliche as it may be) doing it to get a reaction. With this in mind, there are a few methods you could use to take away their incentive:

1) Pity them. Their bullying just reveals how petty they are, and how you're better than them. If they want to make themselves look bad, go ahead. Just keep up this attitude and they'll get fed up and leave you alone. Note that actually saying anything like this out loud is generally a bad idea - they'll adapt and attack you for this before you're ready to truly handle it.

2) Laugh at yourself first. This generally works better if there's some element of humor in their bullying. If there isn't, you have to be a bit more creative and find it. Once you've switched around your reaction to the opposite of what they want, they'll either give up or even decide your cool and keep at it, but without the edge. In the latter case, you just have to remember that it's now all in jest, and they're no longer really trying to hurt you.

3) Give them a competing incentive. This method only works in a minority of bullying cases, but it did work for me. Basically, I was the freakishly smart guy in school, and this got me picked on. It also got me approached for help with homework and studying. I finally figured out to put these together. If people were nice to me, I'd help them out. If they bullied, I wouldn't. At first, I'd give them a reprieve if they were nice at least for a short period before asking for help. As they learned the value from this, I extended the time I'd require them to be nice until they had to be constantly nice if they wanted any help (a long memory helps here).

If it's really bad and unrelenting, I recommend you go to the school administration. Nowadays, many schools are cracking down on bullying, so they should be willing to help. If the person you talk to tells you to "suck it up" or whatever, try someone else. Chances are someone in the administration was a victim of bullying in the past (or just a decent person) and will be willing to help you. Yes, you'll get accused of being a "tattle-tale" (or the age-appropriate synonym), but that's only a bad thing for those who don't want to get caught. These people really don't want to get into actual trouble, and the threat of it will generally scare them off.

Time, Space, and Dimensions / Re: Guardia Royal Line Paradox
« on: March 18, 2007, 03:36:29 pm »
To sum it up, your argument seems to amount to "The Entity did it." In the real world, we call these "Goddidit" types of arguments. But before I get into that, let's talk about Occam's Razor. (As it applies within our universe first.)

Let's go back to what the Razor actually says: Any explanation of observed phenomena should make as few assumptions (and postulate as few hypothetical entities) as possible. This is often paraphrased as, "All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one." But why should this be? The best support from it (that I've seen, and in my opinion) comes from Jerrold Katz:

Quote from: Katz (1998)
If a hypothesis, H, explains the same evidence as a hypothesis G, but does so by postulating more entities than G, then, other things being equal, the evidence has to bear greater weight in the case of H than in the case of G, and hence the amount of support it gives H is proportionately less than it gives G.

This means that if we have available to us a given set of evidence and two theories, G and H, H being more complicated, and both G and H explaining observed phenomena, then H, by nature of being more complex, is going to require more evidence to support it. Since we have a finite set of evidence, H will have proportionately less evidence for it (relative to how much it needs) than G. This means that G is better supported by the evidence, so G is the better theory.

Now, what happens when we're working with finding the laws for a fictional world? We have to keep in mind that it was written by humans. If they have a significant imagination, they're going to want to show it off, and we'll see it in the world. If there's a consistent set of laws in this world, it's likely that the writer wouldn't intend it to be unnecessarily complicated, and would probably be imagining the simplest set of laws that explains everything that happens. Even if the writer comes up with a more complicated set than we do, if ours explains everything we see in the world, it's just as valid, seeing as we can't go in and compare them (if the writer writes more, things will change). Plus, our theory has the aesthetic benefit of being simpler, so we might as well go with it.

Okay, onto your argument. The problem with any type of Goddidit arguments is that they lack any predictive power. If we assume that some entity did something in any particular case, we lack a springboard to predict for future cases as we don't know if or how the entity will intervene in that case. If we have no other possible explanation for the events, this isn't such a big deal. But if we do have another explanation (as we do in this case), then it makes sense to use it, as it gives us something we can use for fan projects (fiction, Crimson Echoes, etc.) Of course, we'll never be able to definitively determine which actually happens, but the latter case helps us proceed a lot more.

General Discussion / Re: Pregnant kids
« on: March 16, 2007, 03:04:33 pm »
here's my opinion on this, if teens want to have kids and get pregnant, then do so, but if they don't want to, and get pregnant themselves, then they better not complain, because its there own damn fault! simple, simple.

Pregnancy isn't a simple matter of only screwing up your own life (like drug use, for instance). It also involves creating a new life which might then be screwed up as well. It's with this in mind that there can be complaints about teenage parents bringing babies into a family they can't support. Other people who have done nothing wrong end up suffering for it.

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