Monday, May 11, 2009

More reading..

So in between testing -rc5 on all the machines I can find (and in the process being a total PITA when I find just configuration idiocies and a random "my wireless doesn't work - oh, wait, yes it does"), I've been reading more.

And yes, I finished off the Soldier Son trilogy. And yes, Nevare was fat and stupid and whiny, up until the last chapter. Oh well. Not unexpected.

On the positive front, there's "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry A Coyne.

I'm not quite sure who this book is for (the people denying evolution certainly don't have enough braincells or background to read it), but I suspect that if you're sitting on the fence, and want to educate yourself, but have been talking too much to people who tell you that evolution can't be true because [ insert some odd reason here] then this might be the book for you.

It's a pretty good read, with a lot of examples from different areas. It made me think that I'll be really happy to give this book to the kids when they are ready for it, which is probably not for a few years, but still..

Currently reading "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge. I have no idea where that book came from, but Tove claims I bought it. So it must be so. I clearly buy too many books, and some of them get forgotten and then found again. It's like a mild case of Alzheimer's - every day is a new adventure.

Anyway, I got sidetracked there a bit: the book started out like some crazy persons rant against the "establishment", and I was sure I could not possibly have bought it, and Tove had decided that it was time to get me to read some odd new-age literature. But once you get past the preface, and get over the point where Norman claims that brain plasticity is somehow a radical new thing, the book actually is quite interesting.

Ok, so I'm only about two-thirds through, and parts of it really do seem to be a bit too overly excited and over-hyped (and read as a commercial for some of the things mentioned), but I've been enjoying it. I suspect there are much more balanced accounts out there, but with the caveat that you should probably read this book with a healthy dose of critical thinking, it's been a good read.

86 comments:

Ryan said...

How many brain cells are required to insult someone?

stevec said...

Jerry Coyne has a blog, btw:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/

kittent said...

Currently reading "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge. I have no idea where that book came from, but Tove claims I bought it. So it must be so. I clearly buy too many books, and some of them get forgotten and then found again. It's like a mild case of Alzheimer's - every day is a new adventure.wonderful book. if only reading it had changed my brain. it can change...you just have to believe...and that sounds pretty brainless, no pun intended.

Are you familiar with the Dalai Lama's work with the Institute of the Mind?

pcleddy said...

have you tried kindle via iphone? fing amazing! or, i can send you an iphone touch if you want

you earned it ;) if it wasnt for linux, i'd have to be a windows IT professional instead. better off dead. heh

got PO box?

just got these two books, and will start reading NOW. WOW. they do both look good. instant gratification IS all it's made out to be

frem said...

Nice ad hominem circumstantial there, Linus.

Tom R said...

Most fascinating book on brains I've ever read, recommended to me be a neuroscientist, was Phomatoms in the Brain by V. S. Ramachandran (http://www.amazon.com/Phantoms-Brain-Probing-Mysteries-Human/dp/0688172172)

He's one of the worlds top neuroscientists and speaks from experience, each amazing revelation backed up by case histories from his many patients. Couldn't recommend it enough.

Another great brain book is How The Mind Works by Steven Pinker, a bit of a heavier read that CS majors will enjoy with healthy doses of comp sci and chapters on the visual system. The book slowly falls into the realm of Evolutionary Psychology which is fascinating if a little speculative (something Ramachandran has a few words about) .

Linus said...

Tom A: will try those two too. "How the Mind Works" is apparently out of print, but up for pre-order for paperback, which I prefer anyway.

pcleddy: I currently really prefer paper. The text on the kindle is too big (even at its smallest setting). I tried, and there just isn't enough text on a page, and switching pages is too slow. So I'll wait a few generations, I'm sure it will get there.

(Guilty pleasure while reading: I'll take a break during the day, and read while taking a warm bath. I don't know how well a Kindle would take to that, and it's one of the joys of working from home. And I'm secure enough in my sexuality that I can admit to liking long warm baths even if I'm male ;)

Ryan/frem - sorry, but I see no reason to respect people who deny evolution (and here "deny" is an active thing). They are on par with people who deny the holocaust, or with people who think the earth is flat.

There just is no excuse in this day and age. If you are on the internet, you already have resources available to you to know better.

Ryan said...

Speaking of the holocaust.... I'm sorry, Linus, but by disrespecting those who don't share your point of view, you're essentially behaving like every tyrant, including Hitler, in history. If we all fail to show respect to those who don't believe what we believe, how are we expected to come to understandings with our enemies and make peace?

The Unknown Tech said...

Linus, please go on disrespecting people who don't share your point of view.
I am so sick of people who spout rubbish like "Everyone's opinion is equally valid"!

Ryan - Hitler believed what he was doing was okay... are you going to support that too? The fact is, some people's opinions are just plain wrong - either through ignorance, stupidity or just plain malice.

Linus said...

Ryan: it's not about not respecting other peoples beliefs - it's about disrespecting people who are unable to face facts.

In other words, it's not about what you or I believe. There's a big difference between "belief" (anything can be a belief) and "fact" (which is what we call beliefs that are backed up by so much evidence that they turn into something stronger than mere belief).

If you deny facts (and the holocaust is certainly a historical fact), you're just being stupid or unexcusably badly educated, and you're certainly not worth any respect for such idiotic denial.

It's not about respecting peoples point of view. It's about knowing the difference between make-believe and reality.

You can discuss "respect other peoples beliefs" all you will, and never see the point. But there really are differences in beliefs, and those differences are what make some of them facts. And others? Not-so-much.

Do you respect grown people who believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny? And can you see the difference between the "belief" in the Easter Bunny, and the "belief" in something like the Theory of Gravity?

One is a fact, the other isn't.

Believing in one - and calling it a fact, because it is supported by so much evidence - makes you a grown-up sane person. Believing in the other makes you just obviously stupid and/or uneducated.

In which camp do you want to be? Can you even admit to yourself the difference in "quality" of those two totally different beliefs?

Trust me, there is absolutely tons of evidence of evolution as a fact. Not just esoteric stuff either.

It explains totally every-day things ("why are there so many similarities in behavior - and build - between dogs and humans"), the same way quantum mechanics explains totally every-day things ("why is the sky blue").

Neither of those two questions need to be answered with "that's just how they were made". Both of those questions are relevant and interesting, and both of them actually have perfectly real answers and explanations.

Ryan said...

-- The Unknown Tech -- In regards to resolving conflict, it's not a matter of who is wrong and who is right; it's about whether both parties can respect a person whether they are wrong, right, stupid or smart.

I'm not suggesting we hang out and smoke weed and talk apathetic nonsense. Nor would I suggest we treat our enemies (or those who we think are wrong...) with roses and candies.

Certainly humankind would not have gotten very far if it weren't for respect for differences. Like I said, it doesn't matter if Hitler thought he was wrong our right--no would would have ever won that argument with him anyway; what matters is that he lacked respect. He had no tolerance.

Causing injury to anyone because of small differences (believing in evolution or not, for example) is mean and causes conflict. (Case in point, right here....)

-- Linus -- That was well said. And if it were as simple as the choice between two different camps, I'd hop in yours in a minute.

The fact is there are those who deny out of stupidity, tradition, and poor eduction, and there are those who self-righteously claim to have all the answers, defending their stance at the expense of others.

Yet standing above them all I see an entirely different group who would fight and even kill for a righteous cause, yet humbly submit that they don't know everything. And it would be their knowledge that they don't know everything that would temper their fight.

You speak of believing in fact instead of fantasy. I agree. Evolution, as a fact, however, is not something I would wager my existence on. There is evidence that it happens, but I would not be so bold or stupid as to assume the theory of evolution as it stands is complete. It's overwhelmingly apparent that the theory checks out, but that wouldn't rule out the possibility of the theory being incomplete.

You might say that believing in things that are false or fantasy is a mark of stupidity, while believing in things that are true is a sign of higher intelligence. Are we not all evolving towards that higher intelligence? And do we all not need, from time to time, a little respect, a helping hand, and much patience to get there? Sure, some of us will be weeded out along the way, but let it not be by any fault of our own.

Let's just hope we're believing in the right things, in true things.

Mark said...

@Ryan:
It's not about "correct" answers, because we can never know anything to be correct about the world around us. What we have is models for the world: general rules for the way that things work. Very often, some rule seems to work perfectly fine, but later is shown to have exceptions. My example would be that Newton's laws do a marvelous job of describing macroscopic objects which are far from moving at the speed of light, but if you get really small or really fast, you need quantum theory and special relativity.

So how does this relate? Well, you mentioned that you don't think that the theory is complete. Fair enough. But by this logic, why believe anything? The point is that it is, by quite a long way, the best that we've got. To point out that it's not perfect, and proceed to follow a theory that is clearly and comprehensively flawed, and makes irrational and unnecessary assumptions...well, my description of it should give you and idea of what I think of that.

If you want to have a perfect picture of the mechanisms behind the Universe, good luck to you. I doubt it's something that humans will ever attain. There will always be puzzles, as long as we can't exist at every scale of time and space, as long as we can't view the beginning of the Universe with our own eyes.

Sylvain said...

Did you really search that question out?

I must admit I did not truly search that question out.

Nobody never presented me with actual facts. Just observations they say proves evolution but when I read the opposite side they show you that proves nothing because of this or that.

There are many scientific that believed in evolution but changed side. Are you saying there are all stupid?

You speak of the Holocaust and Gravity as facts. That does not compare because they are observable directly or almost. The same thing for the earth being round.

There is nothing in evolution theory that you can observe directly else you would not need a book to explain to you why it is true. You would just observe it and see it for a fact.

Linus said...

Sylvain: You say "You speak of the Holocaust and Gravity as facts. That does not compare because they are observable directly or almost. The same thing for the earth being round."Oh, evolution is very much observable directly too, and in fact there is a lot more proof of evolution than there is of the holocaust - simply because it's been going on for much longer, and is much more pervasive.

You indeed see evidence in evolution all around you, if you are just willing to look around and understand.

Some of it is very direct indeed (bacteria that grow resistance to drugs), and happens in our lifetimes. You may well be very directly affected by it. Other evidence is in your genes, and much of it is very visible around you in its effects, exactly the same way the effects of gravity is visible around you.

You may not see the genes with your eyes (but neither do you "see" gravity), but you could look at them through electron microscopes if you wanted to. There is nothing holding you back.

It's not that different from gravity or from the earth being round in that sense. Yes, you feel gravity all around you, but that's still very indirect, and not proof of the whole "inverse square of the distance" approximation of Newton.

For all you know, gravity just "pulls down". But you'd be crazy to not believe in Newtons gravity (or general relativity, which improves on the theory and makes it more exact), because those theories of gravity have been very much proven in how the planets move etc etc.

Newton's theory may not have been "correct" in the sense that it wasn't the final word, and general relativity will need to be reconciled with the standard model some day - but both both of them have certainly been proven "correct" many times over.

People still use Newton's theory all the time, the same way it's "correct" to use an approximation like 3.14 for 'pi'. Is that the exact value for 'pi'? No. But it's still absolutely "correct" for any every-day use. In other situations you may need more precision, and use another "more correct" value, but that doesn't make 3.14 wrong.

The same way, Newtonian gravity isn't "wrong", even if there are improvements on it, it just lacks some precision. General relativity has more precision, and that has been proven several ways, including from more precise measurements of the movement of planets etc.

And we have just as much proof of evolution as we have of the planets moving. There is not a shred of doubt about either.

In other words, if you don't accept evolution, you really are either woefully badly educated, or you have some other agenda that doesn't allow you to see facts.

And quite frankly, in neither case do I feel that I need to "respect" that kind of ignorance and/or wilful stupidity.

Because it really is nothing else. You may not want to face the facts, and you may have grown up in an environment that makes it hard to face the facts, but as Philip K Dick said:

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”

And that very much covers evolution.

And I didn't know who the book was written for, but try it out. You may not be ready for it, but give it a try.

Mark said...

@Sylvain:
When you say that the opposite side says that "proves nothing because of this or that", that's exactly the point. It's the "this or that" which is important. That's why an education is so important, is to be able to separate what's valid from what's not. You can't always expect to be completely won over by one side without doing personal research.

On the contrary to the last thing you said, evolution CAN be observed directly. If fossils don't satisfy you in this respect, there have been experiments carried out on fruit flies which are simply astonishing: the flies are separated into two groups which are each fed differently, and after a few dozen generations, they are sufficiently different to not interbreed. Evolution is observable. It's important to stress that.

My apologies for writing about twice as much as the blog entry itself; I find it hard to leave these things go!

Sylvain said...

Well, this example you gave is a good example of what I meant.

You believe this growing resistance of the bacteria prooves evolution or towards it because you know only one side of the case.

One of the main point that prove this wrong, if I remember correctly, is the lack of gaining information with mutations. The bacteria did not gain any information and there is no evolution involved.

Now, I am not a scientic but let me explain you the way I understand it.

Lets say bacteria are like little creatures, they all have mouth.

Now, for the antibiotic to work, the bacteria must have a mouth to take the poison in and get killed. It does not really work this way but just to be simple.

Now, the antibiotics kills almost all of them but not all. It makes more space for bacteria to splits.

But by splitting, they loose information and some loose there mouth and when the information is lost, it is lost for all other generations of that bacteria. That is the way the resistance grows. Because soon enough there is only bacteria with no mouth.

To have evolution we need mutations that hads informations and all we can observe in the world are ones that loose it.

Now, I will not bother you with that any longer.

It was not easy being called stupid by the great creator of Linux. Usually, I would have just go my way.

Yes, I will probably buy the book and look it up.

Tom said...

Hello Linus, thanks for answering my question about the kindle ;) (last post).

Have you read Richard Dawkins? I love his books.(Ryan and Sylvain should read them too ;)

I also love the new Linux.com site. Well done.

reine said...

Linus, if your mind wasn't clear you wouldn't have brought us that f;;;;g good kernel!. and as an answer to 'kittent': your brain is better off taking LSD in pure nature than to leave it to a religious "dalailama"(an notorious sexist!). Have fun everybody!.

Torstein said...

@Sylvain
The problem here is that you use a term, information, that hasn't been properly defined. What do you mean by information in this sense?

Mutations are random changes to the nucleotides in the DNA. The bacterium that has become resistant to an antibiotic has, by random chance, gotten a change in its DNA which somehow (I don't know the details) made it resistant.

Because the environment the bacterium lived in favoured this ability, it got to duplicate and spread better than those who did not have it. The gene that gave it antibiotic resistance will increase in frequency over time.

That is called natural selection and a major part of the theory of evolution.

flimm said...

I agree that's lots of evidence for evolution. The trouble is, there's lots of evidence for ID too.
Evolution does explain everyday things, like similarities between dogs and humans. But so does ID: the similarity points to a common designer, or to similar designers. You wouldn't say that cars evolved by chance just because they're similar.
Quantam mechanics explains everyday things, and yet when another theory challenges it, scientists or people in general don't claim the new one is idiotic. They only do so when religion or anti-religion is involved (heliocentrism, evolution and ID are examples of scientific ideas that met with religious or antireligious opposition). Nowadays, politics also gets in the way of science.
The trouble with ID and darwinist evolution is that neither is provable. What do they predict? Both predict that creatures will evolve and that natural selection will eliminate the lesser creatures leading to fitter creatures. The difference remains if a species could ever make the jump to another 'kind', ie a reptile into a mammal, a monkey into a human, a reptile into a bird, a pig into a whale, etc. Evolution predicts that this will happen, but over millions of years, which obviously is not verifiable. And the fossil record is not categorical enough to constantly support one theory or the other. There simply are no transitional forms between a land mammal and a whale for example, unless you count the speculative ones.
Call people idiots if you like.

Mark O'Neill said...

@flimm: On the contrary, in general, when a radically new theory is proposed in a scientific setting, it is met with resistance and ridicule. In fact, quantum mechanics is an excellent example. The day's top physicists were extremely unhappy with the notion that the behaviour of the smallest particles is pure chance, based on a consistent probability. Albert Einstein remarked that he can't believe that God plays dice.

Many other groundbreaking discoveries and theories were initially dismissed with far more hostility: John Newlands describing his periodic table of the elements (before Mendeléev); the idea that light is a particle as well as a wave; the idea that the laws that govern stars' movement are the same ones that govern movement on Earth; chaos theory; even the notion of countable and uncountable infinities in mathematics. The list goes on. Science is far from being a single team advancing unanimously.

I would really have to challenge the assertion that there's lots of evidence for intelligent design. What evidence? The kind of evidence that I hear is that the eye couldn't be formed gradually, because if it lacks any one of its parts, it's useless. That has been shown to be untrue. Eyes exist in nature in all the following stages:

- An aperture to sense the presence or absence of objects in front of the creature
- A transparent ball (like our aqueous humour) to form a basic picture of surroundings
- Same, with a rudimentary lens for a sharper picture
- Same, with cones (colour-sensing cells)

And within that, there's huge ranges of capabilities of the eyes. Like the range of the light spectra that can be seen, depending on what's needed (as you get deeper into the ocean, all but high-frequency light is absorbed, so certain shrimp and other creatures can see UV rays). This shows that the eye as evidence for intelligent design is not an argument. It doesn't hold up, because each change is an improvement for the animal and so an eye can, with enough time, go from an aperture to an eagle's eye.

Despite this, the eye is always mentioned as an example. This, to me, is a major sign of the dogmatism of those that deny evolution. Another is the old classic "if humans came from apes, why are apes still around?". Maybe because they're a modern animal and we didn't "come from them"? We share a common ancestry. We did not evolve from modern apes. Surely, you must understand the frustration of people such as myself and Linus when you look to your peers. Such willful ignorance, in this day and age, is inexcusable.

But the other fundamental flaw with the argument for intelligent design or creationism is that it is extremely unscientific. The main reason for this is that it assumes a result and explains new evidence in whatever arbitrary fashion necessary to agree with the original assumption, like that God planted fossils in the earth. It just promotes uncritical thinking and ignorance. Consider the age-old example of the Galilean vs Ptolemaic view: Earth orbits the Sun or vice-versa.

At the time of Galileo, the catholic church had the idea that the Earth must be the centre of the Universe, so, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, it must be so. Forget the fact that the exact same mindset was used to come to this conclusion as to form the laws of optics. The point is, making logical deductions from evidence is all well and good, as long as you don't disagree with the rules that are blindly followed.

Well, I have this to say to you:
At the time of Galileo, there was substantially less evidence that the Earth orbits the Sun than there is evidence now for evolution.Substantially.

So what I would say is that those that deny evolution are at a level of willful ignorance which is far greater than that of the catholic church in those days.

Sylvain said...

@Torstein:
You can read the article of Bert Thompson, PhD on this subject.

http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/bacteria.pdf

Linus said...

Sylvain: Bert Thompson? Are you serious? The guy is a creationist nut-case who thinks the world is 6000 years old.

He's also one of those people who wrote anti-gay papers, only to be later fired for sexual misconduct. Guess what kind? The point is, he's a known liar and hypocrite, which you'd know if you had bothered to do any research what-so-ever.

Give it up, Sylvain. Evolution is a fact. The only "scientists" you'll find saying otherwise are crack-pots and crazies with a religious agenda. There is no controversy. None what-so-ever.

Buy the book. Read it. Educate yourself. And leave the crazy behind you.

Mark O'Neill said...

@Sylvain:
"the adaptive ‘needs’ of the species do not increase the likelihood that an adaptive mutation will occur"

That's exactly the point. Mutations occur randomly, and the strong ones survive because the mutated creatures don't die. That is the essence of evolution. The idea of a "guiding hand" is false and unnecessary.

"while pre-existing mutations may confer antibiotic resistance, such
mutations simultaneously may decrease an organism’s viability as well"

Similarly, that is because the creatures alive are (quite simply) the ones that don't die. The theory of evolution doesn't claim that mutations allow the species to become perfect, but rather that it may overcome obstacles by changing in a necessary way. It's not some force of nature, it's just that random mutations occur (which you can't deny) and that the mutated creatures that are strong enough to survive survive (which you can't deny) and that these traits are passed on genetically (which you can't deny).

If evolution was supposed to be some kind of power that life has to become perfect, that would be pretty easy to prove false. How? Wisdom teeth. They hurt. The reduced size of the human jaw is a result of those strong teeth not being needed any more (any redundant bones or muscles are better off gone, because of the energy needed by the body to produce them). However, we, being always "half-way" through evolution (think back troubles; pain of childbirth), still have those teeth. Actually, why would an intelligent creator put those in? Fun? As a test of some kind?

"No new ‘species’ have been produced”

Did you expect one?

You may be right that this does not prove evolution, but it is certainly far from disproving it. I am shocked that a doctor of microbiology seems to show such ignorance about the basic ideas of evolution, but then, as "adjunct professor of Bible and science at Southern Christian University, Montgomery, Alabama", he's got an agenda to push; a decided conclusion to reach.

reine said...

@Ryan: Make peace with the enemies of peace?...try!(you are lucky we fought the nazis!) In any case "tolerance" is a dubious word: because you can't tolerate the intolerable!. GET A LIFE!.

reine said...

"We" don't have to disprove the existence of god, "they" have to prove the existence of god. Better a Dog than a god!.

dennacematthews said...

Hah! Heh! Lunis Torvalds! Linas Torvaldis! Linis Torvolds! Linyos Torovoltos! Hahaahahghahghghghghggh

Sylvain said...

You want to me to buy the book to educate myself?

There is a few page available on amazon.ca.

On page 3, he talks about a first species that perhaps was a self-replicating molecule.

Doesn't that bother you when they talk like this, with suppositions? Perhaps he says.

Its easy to swap with the hand the problem of the first living species but in my view it is fraudulent. Because the problem of origin lies there exactly.

He use a word that in our mind is very simple to make us think it is possible to spawn into existance by chance but is it?

Every living species that we know off need a way to absord energy for it to keep on living. It needs also to execrate to. That is why they are so complex.

Does he explain what he was thinking about later in the book?

Linus said...

sylvain: people who expect science to know everything are misguided. The thing is, the details of abiogenesis (how the first self-replicating molecules happened) aren't well-known.

There are theories (most of them around RNA), but it wasn't actually until very recently (after the book was written) that there has been success in actually replicating a possible scenario for RNA being generated on its own.

But the thing is, evolution isn't even about that. Abiogenesis is a different theory than the theory of evolution, and you don't seem to even understand and know that. Abiogenesis is about how teh first molecules of life happened, while evolution is about what happened once life - however primitive - came to be.

"Why Evolution is True" talks about evolution, and only mentions abiogenesis quickly at the beginning.

Anyway, I by no means require you to educate yourself. If you want to, you can stay ignorant and stupid. But you seemed to get upset when I told you that denying evolution is that.

So you should either learn, or just get used to be considered ignorant and stupid. Those are the two choices. And "Why Evolution is True" is certainly one good step on the way, although it's certainly not the only one, or exhaustive.

Martti, Communist Nazi Jew said...

Hi Linus. I've been a badastronomy reader for a long time and I find it really nice to have some commitment from your side against ... what can I say they really do, without insulting them (since, obviously, they get insulted really easily)? They do not tell lies, but they carefully comment any thoughts and facts that they consider dangerous, false and unlikely out of their own brains. Worse, because they also try to convince others of the trueness of their "beliefs", I also find dem a real danger to civilisation. I find that so strange, when you say "I believe", you imply you'd not know. So to summarize that, why are there so many people who try to spread their incompetence so obtrusively?

Martti, Communist Nazi Jew said...

Me again. Reine was talking about we had to proof if god exists... er, do you mind, but if God really did exist, man couldn't Believe in him any way, since he'd finally know. (Look that up in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by D. Adams - the lament about god and the babel fish)
I like Mark O'Neill's part about fossils and thinking - since it's cynical and in no respect to anyone who thinks differently, for an intellectual reason, and not for a "democratic" ( ;p seriously, get real!) one.

Woodlark (Kangaskiuru) said...

This site proves the existence of evolution and God. The both.

Martti, Communist Nazi Jew said...

I think people like you are one main reason why such terrible misunderstandings of the world we live in stay alive in internet ages.
As for that part of the people who just don't want to listen like you, you won't be very popular anywhere in the more sophisticated parts of the internet.
/me's going to be quiet now...

Yossarian UK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yossarian UK said...

Anyone who believes in intelligent design should pay a visit to my local town on a Saturday night....There will be no signs what so ever of any intelligence - just a sprawling drunken mess....

And just look at the state of the people on the high street of every town - if gods design was so perfect explain the chavs/rednecks ?

Any why would 'god/santa' create a species which inherently does bad thing to each other and set about to destroy the planet? Not a very nice 'god/santa'...

In the future there are going to a section of American Children who will be taught completely differently to the rest of the world, this is slightly scary!

Alicja said...

I just read a big article about Linus in one of polish leading daily... I've been fan of linux for ages, and it shows here:
http://alicja.homelinux.com/news/hpim2239.jpg
funny I never thought Linus will have the time for blog!
Greetings from Kanada (still cold here!),
Alicja

robert said...

wow! Just how did the conversation turn so badly?

I think Ryan was trying to say that if you treat people who don't have the same beliefs as you as idiots then you will only encounter more resistance when trying to get them to see things your way. Thus leading to more extremism on both sides of the argument. (for example go slap someone in the face for no reason and try to be friends with them all in two minutes.)

I definitely don't think it has anything to do with respect. I can have no respect for someone while maintaining a positive / non-insulting attitude toward them.

Akif said...

Look like your friend google supports you but not me :)
http://www.google.com.tr/logos/missinglink.gif

Alicja said...

http://alicja.homelinux.com/

Easy as pie. it's not my google friends, akif, it's on my computer, no google need to connect.
Oh my.... much easier to do stuff on my comp than here with "word verification" and so on

Alicja said...

ooops... ha ha...I think I responded to message not written to me...
Nevermind, Akif :)

Tom said...

Another excellent read about software you wrote:

http://tom.preston-werner.com/2009/05/19/the-git-parable.html

Maybe I should send Andrew the link ;) he seems to not understand GIT.

Che said...

Hello Linus! My name is Tatiana! I' m an editor of moscow weekly newspaper F5 (http://www.f5.ru/index.php/magazine). We should be glad to make the interview with you. Could I touch you another way for this. My email tchechenkina@gmail.com

Krow684 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krow684 said...

Pretty sure I have an ample amount of braincells to read just about anything. Thanks for lowering yourself a little bit, in my book...

Attempting to belittle the opposition doesn't make you or your argument more correct... or should I say, less implausible.

Pointing in a textbook for your information does not make it fact, at least not any more fact than if I pointed to the Bible and claimed that that was fact. One can say that evolution is fact because hundreds of scientists attest to it, but honestly, you are just staking on their word. Now, whether or not the "scientific" community has an agenda, I am not one to say, but as a student of evolution most of my young life, I have yet to see anything that proves it at all.

Evolution is a small part evidence and mostly speculation. Am I saying this makes any other point of view more valid? No. They all require faith to embrace. But evolution is not free of this burden. When you read that man came from apes, no evidence has been produced to you, you just read a sentence in a book. You must take that book's author on his word. But because these authors and scientist bear a flag worded "Science," it becomes a bit easier to swallow.

If you want to claim evolution is fact, at least have dug up the fossil of a missing link, then we'll talk.

Eric said...

I wish I were able to read as many books and be able to develope as well as linus though that'll probably never happen, my attention span is hard to control. I didn't know he likes to argue so much until today =P. I'm not exactly sure what my point of view is on evolution, I do believe it to be true to an extent, and theories are always being molded. Right now I'm probably too young and ignorant to full comprehend any of it but hopefull I will find my own answer someday. Anywho as of now I'm learning C++ (also going to learn python and a few others) so I can hopefully be a decent developer one day, I'm learning to use git with my code and all of this knowledge is getting hard to cram into my head. I really want to ask you (Mr. Torvalds) at what age did your intrest in developing/programming begin. Currently I'm 17 and I've been using gnu and linux for over year. Pleeeeease give me any advice if possible.(sorry I'm off topic or said anything that seems stupid I don't really use blogs)

Tom said...

@eric:
Linus wrote a whole book about what you want to know. So reading that next would probably be a good start.

Google is your friend (and runs on Linux)

Eric said...

@Tom: agreed, so what is the title of the book you're talking about?

I'm sorry but I think talking to people personally can be better research sometimes.

reine said...

Hi, Eric, if you are not sure about evolution at 17, check videos of Richard Dawkins and Randolph Nesse caled: Intelligent design on UTube, mindblowing!. Have fun!. (or read Darwin!).

reine said...

Hi!, Jerry, got spam or got spammed?? (anyway the blog got spammed!!!).

Martti, Communist Nazi Jew said...

lol... I'm aware that this is as much superfluous than the last two comments, but:

Spam will only disappear when it's not even ignored. I've just found the newest scientific facts about it:

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Robbie said...

Here's a book on the other side of that fence - "I don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" by Geisler and Turek. I dare you to read it.

Linus said...

Robbie: I'm nothing if not open to reading about religion. However, I do have some basic quality expectations, and after having looked up the book you suggested ("I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist") on google books, I can categorically state that it doesn't live up to any kind of basic quality.

The very first chapter basically starts in the outright "making-things-up" department, by claiming that the etymology (not that the author seems to know such words) of the word "university" comes from "unity" and "diversity". And then the author goes on to making some inane point based on that.

I'm sorry, I need some higher quality apologia than that kind of trash.

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