Not that I'm upset at Anu, but the fact that so-called "professional writers" like this reporter make such a blatant error really galls me. (A good trick, considering I no longer have a gall bladder. ;-)
She calls the use of money an act of "faith." How ridiculous!! An act of faith is something you do when you have no evidence that it will turn out as you wish. OTOH, using money is something we do often. Unless you've forgotten the 99.9% of the time it works, then there is no "faith" involved. When something works 99.9% of the time you do it, you have "confidence" it will work as expected.
Why do people insist on using the word "faith" when the word "confidence" will do??!! I just don't understand. "Faith" is something you have in a god/dess, in a risky plan that has no real evidence it will succeed, or your belief in the rightness or wrongness of certain moral choices. "Confidence" is something you have in yourself (gee, I succeeded 75% of the time, I bet I can do it again), in others (she's shown me she loves me by doing x, y, and z), and in the physical universe (gee, the sun has come up 100% of the time, I'll bet it comes up tomorrow).
" a blatant error really galls me "
Dear Bryan: Just to tease you gently,even if you still had your gall bladder, it would have nothing to do with the above type of affliction.
yes, Dr. Bill-- please explain-- i thought gall was one of the 4 humors(sp?) bodily fluids identified by the ancient greeks and that is the name for a bitter substance excreted by the gall bladder to aid in digestion... and to "Be galled" was to experience that bitterness ( as one sometimes does with "acid indigestion"-- similar too, but not quite the same as "Heart burn")
so one can be galled (sick to the stomach with anger), with a bitter taste (literly and figuritively) in ones mouth--
and sans gall bladder, the bitter taste is only literly.
Am i wrong? I vaguely know about gall bladder problems (everyone is surprized i don't have any!) since i fall into the 4 F catagory-- fat, fair, female and fourty (+).
The dictionary gives a second meaning referring to such things as saddle sores on horses. So something that galls you is creating a mechanical injury, nothing to do with bile or its contents. At least that is my carefully considered humble opinion. wwh
Hi, Bryan, and welcome; I don't think I've said that yet.
I had to go look up the quote, and thought others might like an easy ref., so:
"The use of money is the purest act of faith; no anchorite who has followed a vision into the desert has acted on an idea as far-fetched as our belief that if we put a dollar in a machine we will be drinking a Diet Coke in a minute." Mary Gordon, We Are All Spendthrifts Now,
It is hard to tell exactly what she meant, even with this.
From the title, I might guess that perhaps she could have meant that anyone who spends money now is taking it on faith that there will be more money in the future.
Based on this quote, though, her logic is beyond me: we have MUCH evidence to support the belief that the machine will give us access to the drink we paid for.
I think she's referring to the bigger picture - the use of money as a token of value represents an act of faith. On pound notes this act of faith is embodied in the statement "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ~", which underscores the fact that what is being accepted as legal tender is a representation of value, having no intrinsic worth. And what happens when this faith starts to crumble? Ask rural bankers in the goldrush era, ask starving women in the Weimar republic...
I'd rather not know what gall is doing under a horse's saddle.
Now tell me what bile has to do with the oak galls, the little hollow spheres about the size of ping-pong balls that form near tips of oak tree branches. "All gall is divided into three parts."
That is my whole point - the loss of *confidence* in the money. Faith had nothing to do with it. If faith were involved in money, it would never "lose value" and there would be no Weimar Republic type problems. People would continue as if nothing were wrong.
Certain religions have made predictions whose outcomes were definitively contradicted by reality. Yet these continue to flourish. If faith were involved with money, you would never have inflation or deflation. People would simply believe in the money no matter what other economic or political realities existed.
Confidence is what wanes and waxes with the evidence. Faith only changes when the emotional state of the individual changes.
Faith had nothing to do with it
Well, I think I understand your discrimination here, Bryan. But take this range of definitions as a quick sample:
Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See synonyms at belief, trust.
Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
often Faith. Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
A set of principles or beliefs.
[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman fed, from Latin fidçs.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
The first one sits OK with my understanding of this kind of faith, and seems reasonable given the etymology shared with words like fidelity, don't you think?
Thanks for that - but my contention rests on the connotations and not the denotations. The reporter's use of the term "purest faith" certainly adds punch to the "belief not based on evidence" definition - such terms are used when speaking of religion and not economics. While it may be argued, perhaps successfully ;-), that money is the US' religion, I don't think that was the context in which she was writing.
Certainly, the "faith of a mustard seed needed to move a mountain" is a far less tangible thing than the confidence in a very large earth-mover to accomplish the same thing. (sidebar - ever see one of those monsters?? They're friggin huge, and to call them "bulldozers" is like calling the Grand Canyon a "big valley".)
And where do the French fit into all of this?
I'm not sure how much this will help in this little discussion, but I read an interesting debate a few days ago on the existence of God (http://members.truepath.com/CICweb/debate_Russell_index.html
) and the negative defined 8 ways that we decide things. He said in order of importance they were logic, reason, confidence, trust, chance, obedience, hope and faith. He later went on to say that if you want to cross a 3-lane highway during rush hour you could use some of these methods:(1) Reason. Look before crossing, believe the evidence of your eyes, and don't go until you see a break in the traffic (or until congestion brings it to a complete standstill).
(2) Trust. Accept my personal testimony that it will be safe to cross between 4:56:09 and 4:56:21 PM and go then.
(3) Faith. Eliminate all sensory input (too distracting for the truly faithful). Instead, plug your ears with wax, close your eyes and apply a blindfold, and just step out smartly at some random time, having faith that God will enable you to cross unscathed.
This probably has nothing to do with this discussion, but it does show that there's quite a difference between confidence and faith.
Thank you, Max!
As someone whose existence is wrapped up in his complete lack of 'faith' as an adherence to a creed, but rather a 'faith' in the perfectability of my fellow poissons, I applaud Max's humanity. I like Jazz's statement of that argument - but ultimately I think it has the meretricous appeal of much reductio ad absurdum argument.
However, it does, I agree, tend to illuminate a difference in the ways we tend to think about these different kinds of confidence or belief or hope or....
Just a few loaves, and thee beside me in the wildernesss...
This example is very pertinent, and clearly demonstrates the difference between faith and confidence.
I find it amazing that such statements "trouble" someone. If one looks at the history of Christianity, most of what makes a Christian a Christian lies in articles of faith (cf Nicene, Apostle's, and Anathasian Creeds) and those are supposed to be held, no matter what logic, evidence, or argument is used. Essentially, to argue that your "faith" is modified by evidence is to destroy the meaning of faith, to water it down to nothing. Jesus refused because faith is not meant to be tested (that is what you do with evidence). You have faith, you don't test it to see if it works. You hold it in the face of all opposition. Paul's evidence was that of his own enlightenment, the personal revelation/vision made to him. That is the basis of his faith. The type of faith required by Christianity (and most other religions) has indeed been differentiated by priests and theologians. Followers using that same paradigm would look like fools in the practical world. Likewise, these same theologians do not want the tools of skepticism used by followers on the tenets of their religion. The semantic difference between "blind" faith and "healthy" faith is that "blind" faith applies to anything anyone says, whereas "healthy" faith applies only to what legitimate ecclesiastical authorities say. These same authorities will tell you that you've made the right decision if your faith and the evidence you have point you in the direction of belief and obedience. They will tell you that you need more faith if your evidence leads you to a different conclusion. In this case, they are not talking about faith modified by evidence (confidence) but faith in spite of evidence (belief without evidence).
My entire point still stands. To use the term "faith" when you really mean "confidence" waters down faith to nothing. If you have faith, you believe, and that settles it. If you have confidence, then your belief is variable with the quality, quantity, and type of evidence you constantly receive.
Why use the word "faith" at all? Why not use "belief" or "religion"? Why this emphasis on the word "faith" when you don't mean it? There has to be a reason why the word "faith" is so important to you in a religious context, when you obviously are using it in the non-religious sense.
I suppose I should give up on this - language doesn't necessarily make sense. Yet I can't escape the feeling it is more important than just another minor linguistic anomaly. It is a word with very strong connotations. It is an important word. Yet it seems people try to dilute it. I just don't understand why.
Ever the gracious faith-saver, Max
I can take a hint. I guess this is why it is impolite to talk religion and politics - terms are too slippery. Didn't mean to make waves - I am new, so I didn't know that such topics were politely ignored. Indeed, we can agree to disagree - a civilized thing to do.
Personally, I'll be sad if we ever rule off such areas as completely beyond discussion - this thread spawned some interesting langauge issues.
All the time we can keep from shouting at one another, I think we are doing OK - and you two have, I think, managed to disagree without unpleasantness (crucifriction?), so congratulations.
yes-- like good company everywhere, we try to stay away from politics and religion... On the other hand-- we haven't gone all PC-- and while we don't go around insulting each other-- Pom, Ozzie, 'merkin and other slightly rude term are freely used. and if you get too free with your words-- the gutter police will track you down-- the real trick is to be very clever-- and then, no matter how riske your words-- we will chuckle before we blush.. and all will be fine. Or we will groan, and say--I wish I thought of that! There are some who race to be the first with a witty bon mot or pun. Most of us aren't too thin skinned-- or short tempered... we will firmly agree to disagree.. I am sure you've have a welcome from the welcome wagon-- Jackie heads it up.. but all of us welcome you.
Pom, Ozzie 'merkin and other slightly rude term are freely used.
Forgive me for bringing it up again, but, please, why not "merikin" ???????
FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without
knowledge, of things without parallel.
As much as it pains me to question the great OT, shouldn't 'riske' be 'risque'?
I feel the urge to macrame with this thread. Something that gets my gall is people that are paid large sums of money for speaking that don't take the time to learn the pronunciation of difficult or unknown words. GRRRR!
BTW spell check suggests macro for macrame!
Forgive me for bringing it up again, but, please, why not "merikin" ???????
Well, because Merkin's pronounce it Merkin, of course.
Dear Max: Do you mean to suggest that I should not accept the words of the Devil's Dictionary? (Truthfully, I don't.)
Dear doc_comfort: pubic wigs can't pronounce anything. Look up "merkin" . You can look for the thread where the URL is given.
my favouirite quote
okay, it's bad enough that you forigners® insist on the superfluous "U"... now someone's done gone and decided we could use an extra I too???? would that be a silent I? hi, H
They may not be able to pronounce anything, but they certainly say a lot .....
"FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."
Good ol' Ambrose Bierce. He was a clever man. And right more often than not.
Consuelo wrote: Something that gets my gall is people that are paid large sums of money for speaking that don't take the time to learn the pronunciation of difficult or unknown words. GRRRR!
Right on! Even worse, is people paid lots of money to speak who can't pronounce normal words. Ever wonder why Tom Brokaw sounds like he does? An "L" is a sound made with the front of the tongue and the teeth. However, as done by Brokaw and Ira Glass (and some other people I've met) they use the back of their tongue and the glottis. As a result, it makes their "L" sound like a German "R" (and I'm being generous, here - personally, I think it sounds like they have a speech impediment). I refuse to listen to either Brokaw or Glass for that very reason.
P.S. We're not merkins, Americans, or a-merry-kins. We're US citizens. :-)
"P.S. We're not merkins, Americans, or a-merry-kins. We're US citizens. :-)"
pubic wigs can't pronounce anything
Dictionary? We don' need no steenkeen dictionary!
The US empire's Pacific colonies
Nice, Max. First other person I've heard of thinking of it like that.
And where do the French fit in all of this?
Thanks, doc_comfort, from saving me from having to post that very rude
And, welcome, Bryan...thanks for the interesting thread!
If you have faith, you believe, and that settles it
I think one of the tenets of faith we too often overlook is captured with an eloquent brevity in the teachings of Christ from the Bible: "Faith without works is dead."
i.e.: If you don't work to make the money, you have no money to invest your faith (or confidence) in. I think this notion of a lazy faith ("Let go and let God") is one of the most damaging misinterpretations of Christianity (and other religions that use the same interpretation) unless it is honed with the careful qualifiers that Jesus so wisely pointed out.
Actually it comes from the Epistle of James Chapter 2: So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
In context (http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=JAS+2&language=english&version=RSV&showfn=off&showxref=on
) it would seem to mean that faith should express itself in action (obedience to God, helping the poor etc.)or is useless.Bingley
That is, as may be. But a lot of people calling themselves Christians have told me that working on faith is the most important thing. Until you have the faith, the works are meaningless. These same people spend a lot of time reaffirming their faith, talking about being with other people to reinforce faith, etc. It is hard to say "Christians don't ..." or "Christians do..." when you have so many that do what "Christian's don't," and don't do what "Christians do." I don't think it is something you can generalize.
Personally, I can't imagine having to work on faith. My faith is solid: that there are objective facts, that the laws of the universe aren't going to change tomorrow, that people can improve themselves as individuals and as a species, that love and friendship is important, that I deserve respect, that others deserve respect until they prove otherwise - all seem self-evident and solid. I don't need to discuss these things endlessly to continue to believe them. I don't have long-term "crises of faith" in what I believe (sure, everyone has a day here and there when everything seems to be falling apart). I can't prove any of those things I believe, but I certainly don't have to work on them. <shrug> It seems a strange thing to me to claim to have faith in something, and then need to reinforce it all the time with others who believe the same. Faith is like breathing - you only notice it under unusual circumstances. It isn't like a vitamin that you have to supplement every day.
you will not object to my pointing out that most U.S. citizens are indeed Americans, as are Argentinians, Brazilians, and even your ruthlessly polite neighbours to the North.
Of course. My main objection to US citizens calling themselves "Americans" is that they tend to feel they somehow own the designation. The term American is so broad, as you point out, as to be meaningless. It means anyone in N, S, and Central America.
I am also not a fan of words that are so broad that they are very difficult to understand without extensive context - unless that context is already well understood. On an international forum such as this, it is unclear at best and arrogant at worst for a US citizen to insist on calling themselves Americans. On a streetcorner in Iowa, it is much more specific - they mean "born in USA."
P.S. It is often fun to accuse the USA of being an "empire." I can't help but think this is tongue-in-cheek by critics. If the US had wanted an empire, we'd still own the Philippines and Cuba. We'd be "administering" places we occupied during WWII. Not to mention various and sundry banana republics. However, we looked at the British colonial model and decided we didn't want it. The US has been historically isolationist. Not even the harshest critics can deny that. So how do you square "isolationist" with "empire?" Answer, you can't.
We'd be "administering" places we occupied during WWII
Sure, amongst intelligent members of the world community it is a tongue-in-cheek joke at Americans we know to have broad shoulders and much to be proud of.
But the legacy of history can not be lightly airbrushed away. A great deal of America's founding wealth (like Britain's) was dependent upon the evils of the slave trade. The USA quite rightly avoided the model of social hegemony of the traditional 19th century empires - but it certainly chose to benefit from maintaining an economic choke lead around the throat of many territories in its power through the course of the first and second world wars.
The current context of this same argument is over the degree of indebtedness of so-called Third World countries. We are currently achieving a more disastrous effect on the states of Africa by financially bleeding them dry than by the worst byproducts of the imperial era.
But this is not much to do with words... so raise your glasses, all, to a fine and much abused word: justice!
a tongue-in-cheek joke at Americans
Besides, we administer our empire, not through the heavy hand of the Raj, but through the ham hand of the CIA.
Yes, that's a lot less scary nowadays! I guess my point is a slow way of explaining the popular tag of 'Coca-colonialism'.
I probably should just keep my mouth shut, but I've always disagreed with people who have a problem with citizens of the United States of America calling themselves Americans. Often they argue that Canadians, Brazilians, and Nicaraguans are also Americans. I think that Canadians and Nicaraguans (and Americans) are North Americans, and Brazilians and Ecuadorians are South Americans. There is no continent named America. Just as I wouldn't call residents of either North and South Dakota, "Dakotans" -- I would call them "North Dakotans" or "South Dakotans." (Of course, I may be shouted down by any "Dakotans" or "Carolinians" out there...) There is no other single word to define citizens of the United States of America (quiet, you in the back), so what is wrong with using the "America" part of the country's name and calling us "Americans"?
I always feel so stupidly jingoistic when I have to explain this to people, but it's a linguistic argument for me, not a patriotic one. If the word "American" is really so vague as to be a problem for everyone else out there, I suppose I will have to relent, but the few times I have been abroad, when I have told people that I am an American I can't remember being met with a perplexed stare. Also, if it really offends other North Americans and South Americans, I guess I will purge it from my lexicon as well, but I just don't like the sound of "I'm a US citizen" -- too official.
Anyway, I have to go read a report that some citizens of the UK who were visiting the US left in our office when they were here.
words that are so broad that they are difficult to understand without extensive context
That's why I have such a problem witht the label Hispanic
...I think it's deplorable to lump such ethnically diverse peoples as Mexicans, Cubans, Continental Spaniards, Agrentinians, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, etc., etc., all under one heading...it just doesn't make sense to me.
However, in the same breath I am going to say that I think, despite all the literal and/or spiteful rhetoric, that the name American/Americans has come to be accepted as and equated with being a U.S. Citizen...it represents an ideal more than a region (an ideal we're still striving to acchieve). Besides, if we want to get really technical we can revert to the hackneyed, but true, argument that the only real Americans were the Iroquois, Delaware, Seminoles, Lakota, etc...and don't
call them "Native" or "Indian", stick to the tribal names of their nations as they would prefer, and deserve, to have it.
I am an American. Of Slovak/Russo/Hungarian/German descent...with a drop of French/Italian/and Irish sprinkled in...but I am an American, second and third generation. What else would you have me call myself...a Mutt?
And, besides (and I know I'm going to catch it for this, I've got my flak-jacket on folks!) during the days of the British Empire did Englishmen living in India, South Africa, Australia, etc. call themselves Indians, South Africans, Australians.....or Englishmen?
I rest my case (and ducking very low!).
My faith is solid: that there are objective facts
I think, perhaps we need to differentiate between a concrete, scientific faith that says if I'm holding a stone in my hand and let go, I have complete faith it will fall to the ground due to gravity; and an abstract faith that believes if you let go of the stone it will defy the laws of gravity and levitiate or float. The first is guaranteed; the second could happen. I believe that "faith can move mountains,"...but you better have a lot of dynamite and good pick-axes handy, and be ready and willing to use them.
during the british Empire did Englishmen living in India, etc. call themselves Indians, South Africans, Australians.....or Englishmen
It may be illogical and not strictly accurate, but I have no real problem with Americans=US'ns in common parlance. In that sense, Americans are also North Americans (but not necessarily vice versa), but not South Americans. Of course if one was discussing North and South and whole American continents, one would probably avoid the term.
But Whitman, I am not sure how your question above relates to the argument about what US citizens are called. Most (male) people living for a while in a country still refer to themselves as "an X-man living in Y-land". And in those times, the longer stay colonists still thought of themselves as "X-men". Or were you alluding to the confusion between Britain and England? I'm confused myself as to what you meant so can't start throwing rocks (yet
i.e. Brits livng abroad in the days of the Birtish Empire -- in reply to rodward
Yes, rod, I can see the confusion in my analogy...it was getting late and my logic was wearing thin. I guess I meant that, if we were sticking to strictly continental/regional strictures in describing citizenship, then by rights, during the days of Empire an Englishman (or maybe Brit is more accurate here; I guess English ladies take exception to that term these days, huh?) who was living elsewhere would have to describe themselves as an Indian, Australian, South African, etc. (or, at least, an Indian-Englishman...i.e. Rudyard Kipling)...And, of course, an Englishman would never consider doing that owning to national pride, etc. But these territories were considered part
of a "Greater England" then, so perhaps the point is moot. On the other hand, because of the travel requirements in that era, most lived out the larger portion of their lives in the colony on another continent...so they weren't truly an "Englishman" either. Did I just create more confusion or more clarity?
I'm not really sure?
concrete, scientific faith
This is an oxymoron. Faith is defined as belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. In this case you don't have faith that rock will fall to the ground, you have knowledge based on logic and reasoning. Faith would be the belief that God is going to save your soul from the devil, not that a scientifically consistent occurrence will happen yet again.
Right you are, JazzO. However, I'm afraid this is turning into a YART. I seem to recall the discussion some months ago, when I contributed the orthodox view of faith, "Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen."
I think you misunderstood me. I don't have "faith" that a rock will fall out of my hand when I let go. I have confidence in that - since it has happened every time I've done that. My "faith," such as it is, is indeed in the abstract notion that the basic governing principles of the universe will not change arbitrarily in space-time. It is known in scientific philosophy as the Non-Locality Axiom (IIRC). When you quoted me as having faith there are objective facts, I should clarify that I do not have faith in a *given* objective fact, but that I have faith in the *existence* of objective facts. That is, I am not a solipsist.
The discussions I've had on this board have been mightily interesting - and *continue* to point up the confusion sown when people talk about "faith" when they mean "evidence" and vice versa. In your post, Mr. O'Neill, you bring up a different application of faith (still consistent with my differentiation, though). You talk about faith in the possibility that something magical will happen. Maybe not in any given instance, but that it can and will happen, someday - for some reason. Essentially, you're faith rests on a "Locality" (or perhaps "Arbitrary") Axiom - that there are regions of space/time that will alter the laws of physics and chemistry as we know them. Perhaps only briefly, but the faith in the existence of such places/times/circumstances is there. That is very much within my definition of faith. Note that the things I have faith in are equally abstract, but of a much different character.
I think that the usage of "faith" in the concrete sense only confuses matters. I know it does for me. I'd rather have faith in as few things as possible, and deduce the rest from observation and experiment. When people talk about "faith" in things that are basically observations and predictions made from analysis, it dilutes the terms "faith" and "confidence" equally. I believe (based on observations) ;-) that such a dichotomy is important, and that blurring the line is unproductive. I'm not naive enough to believe that faith is unnecessary. I realize that faith in some basic principles is necessary to go forward, otherwise you're just navel-contemplating. However, the fewer articles of faith, the less chance of running into contradictory conclusions in your analyses. Therefore, when one talks about faith - it is the most important thing you can discuss, and deserves the clearest possible definitions. The things you have faith in make a difference between being a functional person (e.g. a person who has faith that all people deserve not to suffer unnecessarily) and a dysfunctional person (e.g. someone who has faith that they are *always* right). This is one of the reasons why I take issue with "faith" that is really "confidence" and vice versa.
Right on, Jazz & Bob.
I'm glad I'm not a lone wolf, howling at the indifferent moon. :-)
As to what citizens of the United States of America call ourselves - I wish it weren't so, but I feel that the term American has come to mean quite clearly someone from the USA.
I have lived and travelled a lot in Latin America, and there's no question that many people from many countries in this hemisphere take some umbrage at the USA claiming the name for themselves, but it's typically quite clear what is meant.
I think perhaps this hasn't been cleared up easily because there hasn't been an obvious alternative, and we've got "America" in the name of our land, and none of the other countries on the two continents in question do. There are words used to describe us in Latin America (I'll only mention the ones used politely
), but these aren't really perfect either.
"Norteamericano" isn't precise enough, and if you assume it means a person from the USA, it slights Canada.
"Estadounidense" (as in "United States," which is estados unidos) would fit, except Mexico's full, formal name is "Los Estados Unidos de Mexico," and we've slighted Mexico enough by now, I think.
All of that said, I still tend to use one of the two options presented, so as not to offend, even though I don't feel that there would be any ambiguity in "americano."
Brits living abroad in the days of the British Empire
Whitman - let me explain one thing quietly before the Welsh, Scots, Irish, and others start throwing stones. English is not synonymous with British. Britain comprises Wales, Scotland, and England. Add Northern Ireland in and you get the United Kingdom (of which we are citizens). The Welsh, Scots, and English are British (though some may rather not be) as the US citizens, Mexicans, and Canadians are North American.
I am still confused on your point about Brits/English (whatever) living abroad, but lets take it off line with a PM if you want to discuss futher.
Well, we've separated church and state now. Half of this thread is talking about faith and the other half America. Good job, folks!
Now I'm gonna talk about us Merikuns.
I think American is a legitimate title for citizens of the US if for no more reason than there's no other simple one-word denomination. (Outside of derogatory ones, of course.
) I've heard that the founders originally wanted to call the USA Columbia, but it was already taken by the South American country. I can't find out when Columbia was founded because a search for it on both Atomica and britannica.com came up with references to Columbia University, Washington DC, British Columbia and Columbia, SC. The initial result on Atomica defines Columbia as The United States! Neither source said anything about Columbia the drug-lord country of South America. Since both of these reputable sources disavow any knowledge of any other country named Columbia, I guess we could call ourselves Columbians, right?
concrete, scientific faith...this is an oxymoron
I agree, Jazzoctopus!...I put that image out there because I wasn't sure what Bryan was driving at, and I thought at times he was saying he could only have faith in things that were empirically evidenced...as it turned out that was just my confusion at interpreting his statements. As Bryan says, these faithful discussions can become pretty confusing!
But Bryan cleared that up for me in his next response. You talk about faith in the possibility that something magical will happen.
I concur with this part of your discussion, Bryan...so we've finally arrived at some common ground!
English is not synonymous with British
Yes, I know Rod...obviously, now, I've confused myself and everybody else with a weak analogy. I was just trying to find something to highlight the awkwardness, especially in this day and age, of drawing on continental or geographical references as the guideline for naming a country's citizens...as per the suggestions earlier in this thread that U.S. Citizens are arrogant to call themselves Americans because everyone who lives in North or South America is an American. By that token of thought, in the days of Empire, wouldn't it be arrogant for an Englishman or any British Subject born and bred in, say, Australia, NOT to call themselves an Australian?
Finally, let me say that I believe the passions of nationalism, and super-nationalism, are traps of prejudice, greed, and hatred that have taken us down many hard paths...see WWI and WWII. Better we should look forward to the day when our boundaries are light and our humanity
is strong. That's why I support the space program 100%...I think, ultimately, it alone affords us the chance to break free of these shackles of human nature and grant us the perspective that we are, indeed, one human race. We're all in this together, folks!
Will we ever learn? We are all citizens of the world.
Whitman states That's why I support the space program 100%...I it affords us the chance to break free of these shackles of human nature and grant us the perspective that we are, indeed, one human race.
Any endeavour which binds races and nations closer together is worthwhile and the space programme may do that. There is some useful technical and emotional fallout into general society, but I think we'd do better to focus closer to home.
a person who has faith that all people deserve not to suffer unnecessarily
I was with you Bryan, until your use of "faith" in the above and your other example. Surely the person is expressing a (maybe deeply held) opinion (or belief), which to me has little to do with faith.
In Germany they call Americans Amis (pronounced ah-meez). Unfortunately it has a rather negative twist to it.
I refer to mayself as a Californian here so that there are no questions.
technical and emotional fallout into general society
Those under the path of Mir might have debated its utility, Rod
JazzO can't find out when Columbia was founded because a search for it on both Atomica and britannica.com came up with references to Columbia University
You might better search for Colombia (note the second o) being how as that's they way they spell it down there (not being blessed with the superior spelling abilikies of US'ns)
Rod--I thought the UK started when James the first became monarch of both England and Scotland (the United Kingdoms) and that Wales and Cornwall had been part of the british crown long before that.. ( the title "prince of wales goes back at to henry viii-- so what 1530 or so?) and i think it was old then. The unification (politically) and the Union Jack-- which unites the flags of St. Andrew cross (scotland) and St Georges cross (England) came some time in 1700?-- It was after the Stuarts, right? when the georges came in? Since it was very easy for the scots when the head of the scotish state was also the head of the English state.. but when Bonny prince charlie's crown was userpted.. (one of the desisive battle's being Cloludden(sp?) Moore?) this is history i only know in song, not by reading.
We'll over the water,
We'll over the sea,
We'll over the water,
Come weel, Come woe,
We'll battle and go
All for the love of Charlie!
the welsh flag keeps it griffin as a symbol.
(and there are little details--like the current queen being E II in England, and E the first in Scotland.)
Yeah, that was probably a bad example - I was just trying to use something that can be believed without proof (or in spite of proof). Some people do believe they're always right, even when the evidence shows them otherwise. Sometimes this isn't even considered a mental disease. :o
I disagree that matters of morality aren't a matter of faith. One can believe something deeply, even though the evidence shows otherwise - like humans are worthy of respect and dignity. There are many cultures (including the US??) that it is hard to maintain that perspective, given the day-to-day way people treat each other. I think this example is useful for demonstrating what faith is. I include myself as having faith that the human race is salvagable and worthwhile. I don't have any firm evidence of that yet, though. :)
That's why I support the space program 100%...I think, ultimately, it alone affords us the chance to break free of these shackles of human nature and grant us the perspective that we are, indeed, one human race. We're all in this together, folks! Will we ever learn? We are all citizens of the world.
Hey, we have another point of common ground!! :) :O :D I also 100% support the space program, for exactly the reasons you and Rod mention (despite maverick's jibe).
I thought the UK started when James the first became monarch of both England and Scotland (the United Kingdoms)
Helen, it is MUCH more complicated than that. This link explains more than I knew before I checked.http://www.flaginstitute.org/fiunionflag.htm
Basically James VI (of Scotland) was invited to be King James 1 (of England). They were still separate countries under a single ruler. James called his realm the "Kingdom of Great Britain" and referred to South Britain and North Britain. He also introduced the Union Flag (it was called that at least by Charles I time) with the basic form as we know it. With the execution of Charles I, the partial union (of South and North Britain as well as Charles' head and body!) ceased, and a complete union was reformed by Queen Anne in 1707. I believe this was known as "The United Kingdom of Great Britain".
When the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed in 1801, the red diagonal lines were added to the Union Flag to represent Ireland (the cross of St.Patrick is actually from the arms of the Fitzgerald family).
Some people maintain that strictly speaking the "Union Jack" should only be called that when displayed on the jack staff on a boat, and it should be called the Union flag elsewhere. This is not true, it has been called either by the Admiralty, and Parliament officially adopted "the Union Jack" as the national flag in 1908.
I think the battle was just called Culloden (no moor).
Whenever I try to wade my way through the various layers of who was King or Queen to which bits of UK etc. when, I keep myself sane by reliving the Monty Python sketch from "The Search for the Holy Grail".
ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons.
Who's castle is that?
WOMAN: King of the who?
ARTHUR: The Britons.
WOMAN: Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we're all Britons and I am your king.
WOMAN: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous
DENNIS: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship.
..... A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--
I strongly favor the Space Program because it is such a powerful incentive to solving many scientific problems.
Excelsior! The only big disappointment for me is that there seems to be no hope of space travel being able to overcome the problem of overpopulation here on Earth.
OK, now I see what you mean by "faith" in your original example. One can believe that all persons, no matter how despicable, are worthy of respect. Or one can have faith that, despite evidence to the contrary, there are no people that fall below the line dividing those worthy of respect and those not.
Two peasants look up as Arthur and his faithful servant "ride" past.
PEASANT 1 (to PEASANT 2): Who d'you think that was?
PEASANT 2: He's the King.
PEASANT 1: How d'you know?
PEASANT 2: He hasn't got sh*t all over him.
Beautiful maiden leaning from a castle tower, screaming: "Succour!"
Knight errant, riding to the rescue: " I guess I am."
I would love to still believe in this cherubic ideal, but history teaches me otherise. Whenever mankind has moved into a new territory, s/he has always exported all of the current problems too. Jazzo mentioned recently the curious dichotomy of the USA as a 'religious' yet intolerant state in some respects - how much more curious when you consider the impetus behind the drive to that particular new frontier all those generations ago. Can we do better in a vacuum? Hmmm... "This is ground control to Major Tom... the papers want to know whose shirts you wear!"
Edit:BTW, which flag, symbol of nationalism and ownership, now flys on the moon?
Dear Dr. Bill- I worry a bit about over population-- but more about the modern plagues-- AIDS-- is destroying Africa and other countries-- and BSE (mad cow)-- I think, having followed it for 20 years now-- has the power to devistate most of europe-- It took almost 10 year from the time they started feeded MBM (modified bone meal) feed to cow for the symtoms to develop-- and 10 more years for it to be confirmed in humans.. and all the while the same practices went on. even when the brits stop using the meal for there own cattle feed- they continued to export it to other countries.. almost 30 year ago, i was in england when the "secret bombing of Cambodia" where made public and i was embarrassed to be american.. Now days, i suspect many of the english are embarrassed by what their goverment did re: MBM. I think i worry more about the destructive diseased that are now spread world wide- before we even identify them!
Dear of troy: The present alarming growth in the population of the world is related to advances in science, medical being only part of it. All of the losses from disease merely postpone the day when over population catastrophe will arrive. The brutal measures of population control the Chinese have been forced to adopt will have to be employed world wide. How wonderful it would be to have a mass emigration to another planet.But I see no way of its being possible.
Dr. Bill comments: How wonderful it would be to have a mass emigration to another planet. But I see no way of its being possible.
Nor do the proponents of science fiction. No one seems to envision our ever having the ability to transport people off this world at a rate that even begins to match the rate at which we are overpopulating it. The answer can only lie in our stemming the latter.
The answer can only lie...
Soooo.. maybe we should be proud of Mad Thatcher Disease, eh Helen?
mav opines that perhaps we should be proud of Mad Thatcher Disease.
We can do it purty or we can do it ugly.
Faldage opines: No one [even scifi proponents] seems to envision our ever having the ability to transport people off this world at a rate that even begins to match the rate at which we are overpopulating it. The answer can only lie in our stemming the latter.
If I may differ over a pedantic point. :o Heinlein in his work "Tunnel in the Sky" pictures an extradimensional portal that millions of people at a time can be herded through to another destination. In this small (from a popularity and size standpoint) novel, the Chinese do exactly that.
Now, I can't see it being done *today*. The logistics problems would be enormous, even if you didn't make any provision for the people on the other side. OTOH, any society that had such technology might be able to do something about the logistics problem.
For the future as I see it (and Heinlein too; he did "Tunnel" as a "what if" alternative to the flavor of his other books) is that space travel spells doom for the humans left on Earth. All the really adventurous types leave, aggravating by orders of magnitude the "marching morons" problem.
Wasn't the "marching moron's" problem addressed in Hitch hikers? an advanced team sent out to prepare a planet for habitation-- and the advance team was all decoraters, hair dressers, ad writers, agents, middle managers.. etc? (i didn't actualy read the book--i only saw the tv Series.. but i am sure Max can give more details..)
and if the idea of a brain drain where really a problem-- every one in europe would be an idiot-- and that is not the case.. 1 -- even idiots can have smart children.. 2-- incredible gifted people can have compelling reasons for staying put-- physical difficulties, close family relationships, etc.
In some ways, both US and Oz where populated not with "brains" but with "cranks" and crooks. certainly people who where on the outs with the society they left-- either for relegious or legal reasons-- maybe they were adventurous.. or maybe slightly crack pot!
Marching Morons is from a story by the same name by C.M. Kornbluth. The premise was that a 20th century man was zapped forward in time by the Pooh-Bahs of a future society to solve a problem they had. The 20th century man, upon being introduced to the problem decided that the Pooh-Bahs were enslaving the common man, but in truth, the common man so outnumbered the Pooh-Bahs and were so incapable of running things themselves that the Pooh-BAhs were being run ragged trying to keep society running. Things had gotten so out of hand because the intelligent people of the 20th and 21st centuries had practiced sensible birth control procedures but the dummies had bred out of control. Thus, the intelligent people were such a small minority that they essentially had no power at all. They had zapped the 20th guy because they didn't have the ruthlessness to handle the problem they ownse'fs
So NASA should duplicate Star Trek's capability of "beaming" people from one point to another, and populate Mars with our surplus.
One thing that has always puzzled me is why brilliant persons so infrequently have brilliant offspring. And I'm not sure that dummies necessarily have children who are dummies, except where a genetic defect is involved.
an advanced team sent out to prepare a planet for habitation-- and the advance team was all decoraters, hair dressers, ad writers, agents, middle managers.. etc? (i didn't actualy read the book--i only saw the tv Series.. but i am sure Max can give more details..)
Yes, basically it. They got rid of a useless third of the population, and started the human race. That's why Arthur didn't actually have the Question in his head, just a very warped version. The human/aliens drove the semi-intelligent cavemen (they aren't cavemen!!!!!!) to extinction, and the people back home died because of an unsanitised telephone.
ha ha ha, Max
I think this is a perception rather than statistical issue. People notice a streetlight going out when they walk under it, but don't notice the thousands of times they've walked under other lights and had nothing happens. Contrariwise, I'd say most of the kids who attend my child's gifted school have one or more parents of better than average ability. They are engineers, Master's degrees, Ph.D's, successful small business owners, corporate executives. Sure, you don't have to be a *genius* to do any of those things, but you need drive and above-average intelligence. Those parents I've met who are in skilled labor jobs or service industry aren't dumb either. I've not met a single below-average parent of one of these gifted kids.
Intelligence is a matter of genetics+environment. While a genius can be born to the stupid, it isn't as often as people would like to think, and the reverse happens just about as often.
I agree that bright parents usually have bright children. What I should have said was that the children of geniuses seldom match their parents' intellectual level. If you think of the great men and women of the past, they seldom had offspring of equal ability.
and many a genius has well educated parents-- but they are not geniuses..
like red hair, or albinoism, or other rare traits, superior ability just springs up.. (actually, red hair is like blue eyes-- a known process- it just that blue eyes are controlled by one set of genes--say "eye color", and red hair is controlled by 2 genetic markers.. making it a double resessive.)
The thing about the great men and women in science that puzzles me most is the factor of motivation. There is a somewhat apocryphal story about Newton's being a mediocre student until a bully made him wnat to surpass the bully scholastically.Newton later commented that '" at the height of his powers" he was able to focus on a problem constantly until the answer came to him. Motivation can enhance the achievement of any man or woman , and lack of it can vitiate any career.
Would that we knew how to instill our children with it.
Well–actually that was one of my parents successes– when ever we kids were critical of something– we were tasked to do it better–
complained about dinner? You just volunteered to cook the next night– think a story in a tv show was dumb? Sit down and write a better story..
By adulthood, I had internalized it (it does tend to make you very competitive)– and learned to not try some things– like sports– my older sister is only 5'4", but in first year of high school she made varsity basket ball– I never even bothered to try– I was never going to do better than her.. So, I took no interest in, or made an effort in, sports.
But it the same "can you do it better? Put up or shut up" attitude help get me back to college. In three years I went from drop out to graduate with a 3.87 gpa (yes, I admit, it is a second rate college, not university, but still, accredited, and not bad a showing.)
And I use the "device"– when I am teaching something, and someone makes an error–no problem– but should an other class participant make fun of the error–they find they are the next volunteer!– or tasked to do the "assignment" better...
In meetings, I set that up as "ground rule" – the person who has been assigned to be a "scribe" and write things down on the ‘easel pad' has no fear of misspelling a word– anyone who publicly ridicules a spelling or even just rudely calls out a correction– is immediately assigned the job of being scribe...(during breaks, any corrections that are needed are added..)
This lead to an interesting occasion.. A meeting addressing employee morale- was mistakenly scribed as employee morals– and our task: improve them!
Unfortunately there is a down side to encouraging siblings to compete with each other. It often results in their lacking affection for one another. .
"Tunnel in the Sky"
Great Heinlein, tome, Bryan!...one of my favorites along with "Stranger in a Strange Land" (of course), and "Time Enough for Love."
And I often think of Heinlein's concept as the ultimate answer for space travel whenever the subject comes up. But now, it seems, it may be more than just conjecture. With the new theories of Dark Matter and Anti-Gravity developing (really Einstein's abandoned theory of the "cosmological constant" revisited!), forces so strong that they bend and consume even light (and may be faster
than the speed of light!), the glint of plausibility of traversing these vast distances begins to gleam on the horizon. (My brain cells begin to rupture whenever I start to contemplate these magnitudes...you know, what's outside the universe? the Big Bang exploded where?...I have to pull back and grab a handful of soil just for reassurance). So, yes, Bryan, in about 1,000 years or so, hold on to your hat! Who knows, with the help of cryogenics you might still be here, there!, wherever!
By the way, there's a good article on this in the current "Time" 6/25.
And I'll never forgive Ronald Reagan for drastically cutting NASA's budget, and rolling back the manned space progam (and indirectly causing the Challenger disaster due to the lack of funding). I firmly believed at one time that by 1990 we would have manned flights to Mars, and colonies on (and maybe even vacation flights to) the Moon. But it wasn't to be...it WILL eventually, but how soon now...who knows?
One of my favorite subjects for speculation. :) Actually, the concepts themselves aren't too brain-rupturing for me. The idea of virtual particles, De Sitter space, anti-gravity, superfluid helium - I can deal with that (at least, the popularizations). It is the true enormity of the whole thing that boggles me. I have on my "computer wallpaper" Hubble Deep Field WFPC2. It shows some galaxies in the foreground as small discs, some as big as a button on your watch. In the background, you see smaller and smaller ones, and eventually you see a set of dots so small and dim they aren't even star sized. They're *all* galaxies. Each galaxy is billions of stars. (shudder) I get a religious awe every time I contemplate it.
As Sagan put it, an awful waste of space if there isn't *something* else out there.
Yeah - Reagan spent so much on SDI (and now Bush will do the same with NMD - same stuff, different name) he killed the space program. (sigh)
I'll check out the article, thanks.